I've Crashed My Car – And I'm To Blame
Many of us have trouble accepting that they could possibly be to blame for an accident. This is particularly true of older drivers who have '40 years unblemished record 'or those who have passed an advanced driving course. I remember to this day a claim form which stated 'this accident was not my fault – I am an advanced driver and he should not have stopped in front of me!' (This driver had just driven into a stationary car.)
But the truth is that even the most careful of drivers can suffer a moment of insanity. And of course we've all met drivers with an aggressive or exceptionally timid driving style which is just asking for trouble on today's overcrowded highways.
When you report to your insurers, tell them the whole truth! It is OK to admit to your insurers that you were to blame. They will not thank you if you bend the truth to try and make out that you were not to blame as they are liable to try and deny claims made against you, lose and then increase their costs. They would much rather you told them simply and clearly what happened than invent a tale that might make you feel happier but will set them on a protracted and expensive dispute they can not win. eg 'I dug out of the side road without looking and was hit by the other vehicle' is definitely preferred to 'I stopped at the junction and looked both ways, the road was deserted so I folded out when he hit me. He must have been driving well above the speed limit and it was entirely his fault '
By being honest, holding your hand up and telling the insurance company precisely what happened, you provide them a much better chance of coming to the correct decisions about dealing with the third party aspect of your claim. If they are aware that that they are liable for the other drivers claim, they might be able to take steps to control and limit the amount of damages that they have to pay to the other party.
You will probably receive heaps of letters from the other drivers insurance company, his brokers, his solicitors or legal expense insurers, possibly his employers (if using a company car) etc. Simply send them all off to your insurance company, unanswered. They will handle this for you. Some solicitors in particular can seem to be very threatening and intimidating with the style of letter they use. They say things like 'you are required to give us the name and address of your insurance company plus your policy number or you will commit an offense against the Road Traffic Act and will be reported for a criminal offense' or 'You have to admit liability in writing within one week or we will issue proceedings against you 'and so on. Just ignore it! Do not get worried. Let your insurers deal with it. I have received many telephone calls from my friends and clients who have become extremely upset by this sort of letter. There are some very aggressive agents out there today who have found a niche by specializing in this style of work. Since the introduction of the 'Woolf reforms' in April 1999, the legal profession should now use a standardized 'letter of claim' but this is still somewhat intimidating and I would urge the authorities to tone it down a little further.
You could also receive a Summons through the post. There are two variations of summons you are liable to receive (for my dear readers in Scotland, this part applies to English Law but similar actions happened in Scotland
– A summons to answer a criminal case eg careless or dangerous driving in the magistrates court (or Crown Court if the charge is very grave such as causing death by dangerous driving)
– A county court 'claim form' (or possibly a writ from the high court) seeking payment of 'damages' in a civil action.
In either case, send this immediately to your insurance company. They will look at it to see what claims are made in the summons and decide what action to take. They may appoint (and pay for) a solicitor to defend you or if it is a civil matter, they might just decide to admit guilt and to pay up rather than take the case through the courts with the possibility of considering costs being awarded against them should they fail to win the case. If you feel the need to talk to your insurance company, please do so but do not let it stop you passing on the Summons. That would be the worst thing you could do. There are strict time limits in which action must be taken.
Source : http://ezinearticles.com/?Ive-Crashed-My-Car—And-Im-To-Blame&id=629010
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