Car written off while being serviced - PeteJM
My 11 year old auto Nissan 200SX was MOT'd & serviced by my local dealer. A mechanic then decided to "road test" the car & managed to plough into the side of a 4WD Mercedes. The mechanic says that the throttle jammed open but the Merc driver & I both think that he put his foot down & lost control of the car.
I have owned this car from new & it was in very good mechanical condition. I do a very low mileage (1500 miles last year) & the car was providing depreciation free & fun driving when I needed it.

The garage say the car will be written off by their insurers. My insurers say the book value of the car is approx £2000.

Does anybody know what it would be reasonable to ask for & is it normal to road test a car after a normal service?
Car written off while being serviced - NowWheels
I'm no lawyer, but I would have thought that it would be reasonable to insist that you should be placed in the situation you were before the incident ... and that the garage should therefore cover the cost of sourcing and buying a replacement.

"Book value" is somewhat meaningless with such a rare car, so surely the value should be based on what a replacement actually costs you.

Since your car was low mileage, one owner, much loved etc, add on extra to cover having a replacement which may be none of those things. Plus the fee for the broker who you emply to find you a new car, plus car hire in the meantime

If they don't immediately accept that, try a county court claim, and demand disclosure of their policies on mechanics driving clients cars, and the log of which cars were driven. That, plus an independent inspection of the "jammed" throttle may net you a much more intersting offer.

Mind you, you'd probably have to find somewhere else to get your next car serviced

Car written off while being serviced - NowWheels
PS this only just occurred to me, but surely this plea of "jammed throttle" is hardly something which should happen in a car immediately after servicing.

It sounds implausible, but if true it is hardly is a brilliant advertisement for the quality of the servicing work. If untrue, of course, then the mechanic's story falls apart.

It seems to me that the garage has a choice between claiming that it provides inadequate servicing, or that its mechanic was telling fairytales about how your car came to be wrecked. Either way, their insurers are unlikely to be very impressed.

The garage's best route out of that dilemma would appear to be to make you a much better offer than mere book value.
Car written off while being serviced - Civic8
Sorry to hear of that.I agree with no wheels.don`t know the situation regarding test drives now but when I worked in a garage main dealer it was only superviser that was insured and able to take completed vehicle out for test drive.I would be surprised if it has changed as it would cost garage more for insurance.I could be wrong here but I think if you can prove the car was hardly used and in immaculate condition insurance may have to replace the car/give a sum in order to replace.
Car written off while being serviced - looking4car
This compensation culture is getting out of hand.

Hire car, car broker, small claims court ??????

The dealer has had an accident, they do happen.

He's held his hands up and appears to be doing the right thing and getting his insurance to sort things out.

Why not go along with that unless and untill he starts being difficult.
Car written off while being serviced - NowWheels
The dealer has had an accident, they do happen.
He's held his hands up and appears to be doing the
right thing and getting his insurance to sort things out.
Why not go along with that unless and untill he starts
being difficult.


I guess that for me that would depend on whether I believed the mechanic's story, and whether the garage showed any inclination to budge on the inadequate offer of book value.

The problem I forsee that if it is the hands of their insurers, PeteJM is likely to find that the insurers only interest is in keeping the payout as low as possible, not in making fair recompense for the mess.

I agree, nice to sort things amicably if possible. I hope I'll be proven to be a cynical old cow, and that the story has a happy ending ;-)
Car written off while being serviced - googolplex
That might be true if you were driving your own car. But, effectively here the garage has a sort of duty of care over your property.
If you took an electrical item into a shop to be repaired and they ended up ruining it, I wonder if they would assess the value, hand over a cheque and say - go and buy your own replacement. I would expect them at least to offer to find an adequate replacement.

However, the other issue here is whether you want the garage to go round looking for your car. I personally wouldn't and would take the money, and use this as an opportunity to look for something else.
Splodgeface
Car written off while being serviced - Robbie
This compensation culture is getting out of hand.
Hire car, car broker, small claims court ??????
The dealer has had an accident, they do happen.
He's held his hands up and appears to be doing the
right thing and getting his insurance to sort things out.
Why not go along with that unless and untill he starts
being difficult.


What has this to do with the "compensation culture"?

I know that I'd be totally fed up if I was offered a derisory amount for such a vehicle. It's not as if it was a ten year old mondeo with 140,000 on the clock.

He is entitled to be in the same position as he was before the accident. If that means it will cost the insurance company three times their original offer, then so be it.
Car written off while being serviced - Mike H
The alternative is that at the very least, the garage at least provides a loan car. It would also not be unreasonable to help him find a new one.

I'm afraid the question of small claims court is simply reality these days. I'd certainly be looking for the garage to put me back in the position that I was before the accident. If there is a shortfall between what the insurance company offers and this, then I'd certainly be considering the small claims court. We all know how a lot of insurance companies could do with a reality check!

Car written off while being serviced - Godfrey H {P}
It's not so much a reality check as standard practice to offer as little as possible. You have to show them you mean to get adequate compensation.
Car written off while being serviced - Sooty Tailpipes
It would only be 'compensation culture' if you were being frivulous, I don't think you are, the insurance has a legal obligation to put you in the situation you were in before. If you started claiming for the nightmares you're having and not being able to watch car crashes on the television and such like, tthen that would be a different matter.
Car written off while being serviced - looking4car
My point is why immediately adopt a confrontational attitude.

The facts we have so far are that the dealer had an accident, he's accepted responsibility and he's indicated that he has insurance to cover such eventualities.

Faced with such a situation, I'd just go out and buy another car, get on with life and expect to receive an offer from the insurance company. If I was unhappy with the offer I may then contest it.

If I wasn't confident in my own ability to source a car of my own I'd speak to the dealer and explain that I'd like to get back on the road as soon as possible and wait for him to suggest what happens next.

If as I expect he proves cooperative we move on, if he gets awkward or unhelpful then 2 can start playing that game.

If my initial reaction is confrontational with references to county courts and the like I'd expect little or nothing in the way of help.
Car written off while being serviced - Nortones2
So much for the concept of uberrimae fidei: contracts of the utmost good faith, a term used in insurance. Until you have to call on the insurers to pay up:)
Car written off while being serviced - PeteJM
Thanks for your thoughts everybody.

Just to make a few things clear - my annual mileage is very low now but this has only been the case for the last 3/4 years. The total mileage of the car is about average for the year. Also, the bodywork is (was!) not perfect but I had a very reasonable quote from a backstreet paintshop to make it so (& I know they do a good job).

I don't want to use a lawyer if at all possible.

Points in my favour are, I think:

The garage is a Nissan dealer with 6 or so branches. Nissan control their dealers pretty tightly. I have been called by them quite frequently to ask what I thought of the service I have received.

The mechanic's story is obviously dubious, bearing in mind where the accident happened (certainly not a quick spin around the block) & also why he needed to kick-down.

A letter to Honest John has been known to work wonders.

What I don't know is what it is reasonable to ask for, because they can't put me in the position I was before eg an old car that I have looked after & never thrashed (except possibly while it was being serviced!)

Car written off while being serviced - SlidingPillar
A dealer ought to be able to make you happy.

While the car is not current, they have lots of contacts in the trade and ought to be able to find you a simlar or better car for less than it would cost you to buy.

I don't know how you are playing it, but the garage ought to be aware that you have no contract with their insurance company. They do, and your contract is with the garage ie "please service my car". Not writing it off I would have thought was implicit in that contract (be a daft contract otherwise). A legal person ought to be able to advise on that very easily I'd have thought.

I did know someone who it happend to, years ago. The garage wrote off a new Escort 1.6 at first service. He got an XR3, just like that, and as far as I can remember never dealt with the insurance company at all. Dealer did all that.

Lastly, yes I do expect a dealer to responsibly road test. You can only get a feel for the car by driving it. However, a frayed and likely to stick cable usually feels so straight way. IMHO the guy lost it and is telling pork pies. But since it was supposedly just serviced, I would not have thought it out to be any different in outcome. If the garage makes you happy, but wants to save face, let it!
Car written off while being serviced - cockle {P}
At least your dealer is being upfront and trying to sort out the situation, until his attitude changes or you get a derisory offer then I would try and keep it amicable.

Complete contrast to someone I know who recently had the rear of his car stoved in while it was parked at a dealer while he was out test driving a new car. Not only did no-one see the incident, the dealer refused any help to try and find out who was responsible, simply saying that parking was at his own risk, and then proceeded to knock the PX on the basis that the car had now been involved in an accident! Not exactly the way to persuade a punter to buy a new car off you, needless to say new car is on order from another dealer and he is making sure that he rubbishes the first dealer at every opportunity. The dealer was quite probably within his rights on all counts but a little bit of goodwill, or even saying sorry, would have gone a long way!

Cockle
Car written off while being serviced - Chuffer Dandridge
Prior to the incident how did you rate the garage, and would you have been keen to continue using them? If so is it worth trying to reach an amicable settlement. The reason I suggest this is that I would have thought that as long as the incident is rememberred, the service you will get in the future ought to be second to none, and that in itself might be worth having.
Car written off while being serviced - DavidHM
The quality of the 'advice' on this thread is, I am sorry to say it, very poor.

Looking4car pretty much has it right IMO. Accidents will happen, whether to a ten year old Mondeo with 140k, a cherished classic sports car, or a customer's new 350Z.

The insurer naturally has a duty to pay up - and an interest in keeping the payout as low as possible. Whether the accident was the mechanic's fault or not is irrelevant; the garage is a bailee of the car and as such is under a duty to take reasonable care and the cost of investigating a mechanical fault is likely to be greater than the cost of paying up, especially as the existence of any such fault would not necessarily displace any presumption of liability.

For everyone who thinks the dealer should be punished, I have only to say that the legal system punishes crimes only, not civil torts, which are merely offset by damages. The dealer is under no legal duty to do anything other than pay the replacement value of the car, plus any necessary expenses. This means that a hire car, when alternative transportation exists, is likely to be seen as a superfluous luxury. Any expectation that a mint replacement vehicle be sourced and sold at less than its likely market value is ridiculous - although conversely it's only fair to expect a true market value for the car, allowing for the vehicle's condition and rarity, so that you can source one reasonably quickly, paying the necessary premium, through an owner's club or online.

You might be surprised at how generous an offer actually you get.
Car written off while being serviced - Robbie
The quality of the 'advice' on this thread is, I am
sorry to say it, very poor.
The insurer naturally has a duty to pay up - and
an interest in keeping the payout as low as possible.
Whether the accident was the mechanic's fault or not is irrelevant;
the garage is a bailee of the car and as such
is under a duty to take reasonable care


What "quality" advice would you offer?

Of course the insurance company has a duty to itself, and perhaps its shareholders, depending on its trading status, to try to offer the lowest amount it can get away with. However, that does not alter the fact that the OP should not be in a worse position than he was before the accident.

I have had two occasions where my vehicles sustained damage, through no fault of my own. In both instances the two different companies tried to fob me off with less than the costs incurred as a result of the incidents. It was only following legal action that I received full compensation.

In one case they refused to pay the cost of a hire car because I was in receipt of a car allowance for my professional work. They maintained that my allowance covered the cost of hiring a vehicle.
Car written off while being serviced - DavidHM
I'm not for a second suggesting that the injured party should be in a worse position than before the accident.

However, that doesn't give the claimant carte blanche to spend money without reference to whether it is necessary or good value for money, nor to start a blood feud with the defendant or his insurers, nor to expect anything other than fair compensation for his necessary out of pocket expenses and direct financial loss.

I certainly wouldn't suggest that anyone accept the insurer's first offer unless it truly is generous - but that some of the suggestions made so far on this thread are neither realistic nor helpful.

In one case they refused to pay the cost of a hire car because I was in receipt of a car allowance for my professional work. They maintained that my allowance covered the cost of hiring a vehicle.

If you were inconvenienced, then obviously you should not have been out of pocket. However, are you suggesting that you should have been paid the car allowance by your clients/employers while the insurance company paid for all your actual expenses? I'm not sure that either the clients or the insurers would be impressed by that situation.
Car written off while being serviced - Robbie
In one case they refused to pay the cost of a
hire car because I was in receipt of a car allowance
for my professional work. They maintained that my allowance covered the
cost of hiring a vehicle.
If you were inconvenienced, then obviously you should not have been
out of pocket. However, are you suggesting that you should
have been paid the car allowance by your clients/employers while the
insurance company paid for all your actual expenses? I'm not
sure that either the clients or the insurers would be impressed
by that situation.


The car allowance was paid to cover depreciation, tax, insurance, petrol etc. for my vehicle. It did not cover the hire cost of another car. The foregoing, except for fuel, were all fixed costs and did not disappear simply because my vehicle was off the road. I had to pay the cost of hiring a car whilst my own was being repaired; an extra cost which would not have been incurred had my own car not sustained damage, due to the negligence of the insured.

 

Value my car