Insurance claim - Dave N
I received a letter this morning from a solicitor claiming uninsured losses from another motorist. Apparently I caused damage to their unattended car back in November. They only give a date, not a location. I looked in my diary and don't have anything for that day, so don't know where I was, and I certainly don't remember hitting anyone. Just wondering if they found damage to their car with mine next to it, as opposed to me actually doing the damage.

Anyway, they are requesting my insurance details as required by law. But, what if my insurance co. don't want to fight it and just cough up as it's probably only a smallish ammount, working on the theory thay can just put up my premium to recoup it? Can I just deal with them and cough up myself, or fight it myself?
Insurance claim - DavidHM
At the very least, ask them for the details of what car you were driving, and where you were.

If it turns out that you were driving a Mondeo around Scotland and you have an Astra in Dover, then they have some serious explaining to do.
Insurance claim - SteveH42
First thing is that I'm pretty sure you have no legal obligation to provide insurance details. My interpretation is that you can use your insurance to settle a claim should you wish to, but you do not have to go down this route.

I'm sure others will have different advice, but if I were in this position I would admit nothing, give no details and not say anything that could be an admission of guilt. I would ask for more details of the claimed incident - get them to specify location, time, make, model and registration of the car they claim was involved. Also ask if they have any witnesses to back up this claim.

I'd say you are best not to admit fault or claim innocence - just ask for more details to allow you to consider their claims fully.

My feeling - others may disagree - is that if you get your insurance company involved then they might start loading your premium and assuming guilt that is not there. However, if they appear to have a good case then you might be better off getting them to contest it for you. Either your insurance or breakdown cover may include legal help - this might be work investigating.

I do not believe an insurance company will pay out unless their client informs them of the claim and / or admits fault to them. Otherwise, what is to stop someone having a minor bump and picking a random driver to claim off?

If you honestly are not aware of this accident then, especially if their case seems weak, do not even consider paying up.
Insurance claim - John M.
Admit nothing. Bin the letter.

Someone I knew who worked for a two-bit ambulance chasing 'where there's blame there's a claim' company used to try this sort of thing. Said that he relied on honest people admitting guilt when they had no obligation to admit to anything.
Insurance claim - bazza
Well surely you'd know if you've damaged someone else's car wouldn't you!! I think someone's trying it on. I would ask for more details, as above.
Insurance claim - Dave N
The solitors quote section 154 of the road traffic act, see below:

Duty to give information as to insurance or security where claim made.

154.—(1) A person against whom a claim is made in respect of any such liability as is required to be covered by a policy of insurance under section 145 of this Act must, on demand by or on behalf of the person making the claim—
(a) state whether or not, in respect of that liability—
(i) he was insured by a policy having effect for the purposes of this Part of this Act or had in force a security having effect for those purposes, or
(ii) he would have been so insured or would have had in force such a security if the insurer or, as the case may be, the giver of the security had not avoided or cancelled the policy or security, and
(b) if he was or would have been so insured, or had or would have had in force such a security—
(i) give such particulars with respect to that policy or security as were specified in any certificate of insurance or security delivered in respect of that policy or security, as the case may be, under section 147 of this Act, or
(ii) where no such certificate was delivered under that section, give the following particulars, that is to say, the registration mark or other identifying particulars of the vehicle concerned, the number or other identifying particulars of the insurance policy issued in respect of the vehicle, the name of the insurer and the period of the insurance cover.
(2) If without reasonable excuse, a person fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (1) above, or wilfully makes a false statement in reply to any such demand as is referred to in that subsection, he is guilty of an offence.

So it looks like I do have to, although it does say they need a good reason, so maybe I can get more info from them before I give them my details. I've looked through all my credit card statements, bank books etc, to see if they place me anywhere, but they don't. The reg. no. they quote is for my van that I use for mobile work and hardly ever take it anywhere when I'm not on a job, and I certainly don't park it in multi story carparks or things as It's got a lot of valuable kit in it, plus it's not terribly pleasant to drive, so it's not the sort of thing I 'take for a spin'. I certainly don't remember ever hitting anything with it, and I've not got any scratches or dents on it (apart from those that were already there). Trouble is, is I ask them for more info they will know I've got the letter. I wonder why I never got anything about the original claim, only this letter claiming uninsured losses?

Insurance claim - Blue {P}
Sounds like someone is trying it on.

I wouldn't be giving them my insurance details until they had provided me with full details of the incident including details of which witnesses say that they saw you hit the vehicle.

Good luck.

Blue
Insurance claim - lauriew
Uninsured losses could be their clients insurance excess.
A friend of mine had a similar incident in a multistory carpark.
Someone reversed into a car and caused damage.
This "someone" then left a note on the damaged car quoting my friends reg number which was parked nearby.
CCTV eventually located culprit.
Insurance claim - Dwight Van Driver
Dave

Section 154 RTA 1988 applies in relation to Insurance required under section 145 (3) (a) RTA 88- that is the need to take Insurance out to cover third party risks whilst the vehicle was being used on a ROAD in Great Britain.

Is a Multi storey Car Park a Road for the purposes of S.154.?
Such a question baffles at times the Legal Profession with cases at High Court to decide.

However, to me it seems that as advised that you should, without accepting any blame or admission, point out that you are aghast at the allegation of which you have no knowledge and ask for full details of the incident. Also point out that S154 applies only to incidents on Roads.

From the reply it may show a try on? Presumably being a van there will be dents in the rear front?

Many years ago I was on a Course with the Metpol and they told me the scam with the London buses. Note the Reg No, time , date and location of a red one with damage and then write it and claim that it had touched yours and claim a re spray or minor repair which was invariably paid by LT.


DVD

Insurance claim - Dwight Van Driver
A bit more ammunition:

Cutter v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd reported in The Times 22.11.96.

This case involved a passenger being injured whilst in a vehicle in a multi storey car park. The plaintiff argued that the RTA 1988 already made provisions for the distinction between roads and car parks and that there was no justification for extending the meaning of the definition of a road beyond its normal meaning. The car park was provided for the parking of vehicles. The House of Lords accepted this, holding that it would only be in exceptional cases that a car park would be a road.

Similar case on the same lines Clarke v Kato (The Times 29.11.96)

DVD
Insurance claim - kithmo
I would check if the solicitor named on the letter, does exist. It could be anybody claiming to be a solicitor. Also ask them if the police are involved, if so request a crime reference number. I'm pretty sure that if someone damages your car and does a runner, that you are supposed to inform the police as it is an offence to leave the scene of an accident without leaving your details at the scene or reporting it to the police within 24 hrs. I personally would ask the advice of an insurance broker or company (anonimously of course)or just ignore the letter and let the other party take it further if they so require. After all if you are innocent then how can they claim off you. The burden is on them to prove guilt not you to prove innocence.
Insurance claim - Dave N
Well the plot thickens. I had a look at the Solicitors web site, and they're 'the largest personal accident and motorist uninsured loss solicitors in the north west'. They shout about all the awards they've got, and their new call centre, as well as brags about all the big claims for personal injury they've won for their clients. They are also contracted by a number of insurers to act on their behalf for crash management. Most solicitors don't shout about this sort of information.

I reckon someones colected a bump, my vehicles nearby, so they put 2 and 2 together and come up with 5. They then go to their insurers and put in a claim. Their insurer doesn't chase me because the case looks shaky, they pay up minus the excess, and tell the guy to claim this from his £10 policy they always flog you when you take out car insurance. The solicitors then just punch in the details and shoot out a bunch of letters and hope for the best. Interestingly, they sent 2 letters under seperate cover, one for me to fill in and send back, the other for me to pass to my insurer, but they weren't sent by recorded delivery. Though it may sound a bit suspicious if I claim to have got neither.
Insurance claim - lauriew
Dave N,
Why dont you seek the advise of your own insurers.
If you HAD bumped this car, they would need to know anyway.
I think they will tell you to send all paperwork to them without you replying to the sender. Let them deal with it.
Insurance claim - Godfrey H {P}
Your scenario seems the most likely. There was a programme on the TV about this type of company. They were employing canvasers to tout for business and the canvassers were prompting people to fabricate claims. The other posibility is that your registration number has been cloned. Do you have access to free legal advice via your household insurance policy? If so I would give them a ring and see what they say. The other possibility is that they just punched up the wrong registration number.
Insurance claim - Dave N
Well I got another letter this morning, similar format, but this one 'claiming damages in connection with the accident'. This time it gives a location as 'Geraldine Woodhouse' ?? Sounds a bit of a strange place name to me. It states they are acting for the same guy, but also quote his insurance company name and address. Again they ask for my insurer details, but without the threat of prosecution under RTA, and request a reply within 21 days. Again, only sent by regular mail.

The letter also finishes with 'this is the claimants first letter of claim in the spirit of the pre-action personal injury protocol'. What the hell is all that about?
Insurance claim - MarkyMarkD
Uh oh! Sounds like the next thing (if they get your insurance details) is a claim not just for damage to their car, but lots of made-up personal injury e.g. whiplash etc. etc.

Sounds even more like they spotted a van and assumed it would be a soft touch for a dodgy claim.

I would keep resisting their asking for insurance details - the last thing you want is for your insurers to cave in because they can't be bothered to defend the case, and then load your premium for evermore.
Insurance claim - SteveH42
My main thought here is why isn't his insurer chasing you for money? If they had your details then they would have contacted you surely?

If you can find a contact at his insurer (a check on google may help if they aren't a well-known firm) then a quick phone call to see if they know any details of an incident may help. But again, don't admit anything - saying something like their insured is claiming damages from you for an incident on (x/x/xx). You are unaware of any such incident and would like more information so you can consider what action to take regarding this allegation.

I can find no mention of a place called Geraldine Woodhouse, in fact the only reference Google gives is to a quarter peal ringer!

My feeling would be not to reply at all the these people but try and find more information without making it too obvious. The reference to personal injury also sounds very dodgy as your original post states the vehicle was unattended.

I'd also suggest that for your own piece of mind it would be a good idea to make use of any free legal advice service you may have through your insurance / recovery etc, or look our for a local solicitor that offers free advice sessions. Failing that, go to your CAB.
Insurance claim - DavidHM
Chances are that, even if the claim is genuine (but PI from an unattended vehicle, I don't think so!) the insurer will know nothing of the incident.

If someone crashes into your parked car, and you only have third party insurance, you have no way of making a claim unless you later find out who did it. Therefore, no point in referring to your own insurer - either you call up an ambulance chaser or you accept that your own car is worthless anyway, so another dent won't make any more difference.

The fact is that it looks like they've claimed against a works van because they expect it to be handled by an unquestioning bureaucracy that will pay up immediately.
Insurance claim - SteveH42
True, but if they have given insurance details then that suggests insurance was involved. Also, I believe you are supposed to inform insurance of all incidents(?). Of course in practice most people don't, but I imagine it would depend on the level of damage.

DaveN, do you know the make / model / age of the car in question?
Insurance claim - HF
'Geraldine Woodhouse'? Not Barbara's sister, surely?

(sorry wrong thread for stupidity)
HF
Insurance claim - scruffythedog118
just a thought, could be your registration no. that was seen but a false plate... hence you've received the mail???

(I've had a speeding ticket but I've argued the fact my car was NOT on the road at the time of the alleged offence, anyway it turned out that a completely different looking car was carrying MY reg.)
Insurance claim - Dave N
*** UPDATE ***

Well I got a recorded delivey letter from the solicitors, so gave them a call for more details regarding location, witnesses etc. before divulging my insurers details.

It appears the accident happened in Warwick, the car involved was a silver 4X4, and a witness reported my number to the police. My vehicle is a blue Nissan van, and I've never been to Warwick in my life. I told them that surely their DVLA check would have told them it wasn't a silver 4X4 but they seemed to have disregarded that fact. They also had a note that the police had tried to trace the silver 4X4 but had failed to do so. So either someone is using my reg number (unlikely as its a personal plate) or the witness got it wrong, but the police normally check variants if the plate doesn't match the description.

I told them that in light of those facts, I wouldn't be disclosing my insurers details, and that if they write to me with the full details I will write back confirming why I won't be giving them my details as they have to have a good reason for asking, and on the basis of what they have, I don't consider it good enough reason. I have a nasty suspicion I may not hear from them again.
Insurance claim - martint123
Good news Dave, I'd go after them for harrasment and sleepless nights from worry. It would server them right for bullyboy tactics.
Insurance claim - DavidHM
To be honest, I wouldn't. All they're ikely to get out of you is a wasted costs order (against them!) if they do.

Other than that, they sent you a standard form nastygram. Most of the time, the person they write to will be the irresponsible fool who drives off without reporting the accident, and frankly, if it happened to you, you'd want your solicitors to be attack dogs.

It's not particularly impressive but you're not going to get any compensation back and even an apology would be doing well. I'd let it lie at that.
Insurance claim - Fullchat
Dave

I wouldn't bother yourself. It understandably has caused you distress and worry but you have been able to satisfy yourself that you have nothing to do with the incident therefore any further costs these solicitors create are down to them.They have no legitimate legal claims over you. Any claims they might alledge just do not hold any credibility. Let them swivel.
It just causes me some worry that your details can be wrongly obtained and then you are subject to acourse of conduct that ammounts to bullying.
Interested to see if Mark or Pugugly have any observations.

 

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