Why is my insurer seeking to recover costs directly from the driver that hit my car?

My car was written off in August after another driver made a right turn in front of me, hitting the front and side of my Audi A4. I had owned this vehicle since new, it was in very good condition, low mileage for it’s age but with a low market value due to it’s age. I was fortunate in that there was a fire service vehicle passing shortly after the impact who made clear to the other driver that they were at fault. The police who attended also confirmed that the other driver was at fault. The other driver subsequently admitted fault and this has been treated by my insurers as a no fault claim. My insurers quickly settled the write off value of my vehicle, provided a hire car for a few days and passed me onto their legal partners to resolve my uninsured losses. This amounted to the value of my insurance excess and loss of pay for one day. I was travelling to work at the time of the accident, had banged my head, was in shock and had to sort out the contents of my vehicle, pick up hire car, and deal with the insurance company. My wife also left work to pick me up, collect the contents of the car and assist me with dealing with the aftermath as I had bumped my head during the impact and was quite dazed for a while. I was also in shock. We included her one day loss of pay in the claim. There were a couple of other sundry losses but these were less than about £50 and all was evidenced including letters from our employers. I was expecting the next communication with the insurers to be a settlement offer.

Out of the blue, I now find that I am now being asked to complete yet more documentation as my insurers have passed this to a legal firm who are now seeking to recover the market value of my vehicle from the other driver directly. It would appear that the other drivers insurers are refusing to settle the claim but no reason has been given as to why that is the case. I have the opportunity to add my uninsured loss to this. If I do not assist my insurers in recovering their costs this will go onto my insurance record as an at fault claim even though no one is disputing that the initial collision wasn’t my fault. I am now faced with another mountain of paperwork much of which duplicates what I have already provided. I am not finding my insurers legal team very helpful and it would appear that the other drivers insurers are being even less helpful.

My claim is a relatively small one, the car was worth more to me than the market value. My uninsured loss is considerable, but the sum that I have been advised that I can claim for is minor and I am not making any claim for personal injury. This leaves me to be very confused as to why I am now in this position. I would be very grateful if you could offer some insight as to why I am where I am with this and any advice would be appreciated. It is clear that I have to go along with this but unclear as to exactly what I am getting myself involved with.

Asked on 20 December 2017 by Sandra Rowland

Answered by Tim Kelly
Clarify who you are dealing with. Make sure the solicitors are working for your insurer in contract. Make sure they are not an accident management company or solicitors acting on their behalf. It sounds like the at fault party was not insured, or his insurer are declining to act as his insurer for breach of policy conditions. They cannot do this, as they are bound by the Road Traffic Act 1988 to handle any claim made against their insured. This does not mean that they don't do it and will try to ignore their liability. This will be why your insurer/solicitor will be issuing proceedings directly in the at fault parties name. You can claim for "any loss incurred as a result of the tort feasor made against you" due to the other parties negligence. Going back to my first comments, establish who the legal team working for your insurer are and whether they have been appointed by your insurer. Let the insurer seek your insured losses, then appoint another solicitor to recover your uninsured losses. Read all of your paperwork very carefully and establish the facts.
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