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437 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2339870 17-Oct-2019 16:23
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I have been in the same situation except I was the driver of the uninsured car (I never got caught out like that again, and I suspect you won't either).


Do not ignore the letter. Do not listen to people telling you to ignore it - it is terrible and ignorant advice.  New Flash: Problems and bills don't go away by ignoring them.


You have received a stock standard letter. The other insurance company simple wants to know who to negotiate with (ie who send the bills to should everyone agree that the other party was not at fault and who to send the money to should everyone agree the opposite) - be that you, your insurance company (if you were insured), the driver of your car or your rich daddy who bails you out of trouble if you are lucky enough to have one of those.  


As earlier stated, you need to write back explaining who the driver was and that the insurance company should talk to them (do not say that the driver is "liable" for costs, but simply state who was responsible for and driving the vehicle at the time of the crash).


If no one talks to them next step for the insurance company is to take it to court and with no better information the claim will be lodged against the registered owner. If you fail to show up in court you will be found guilty by default. Ignoring the letter is irresponsible and ignoring your duty to not only yourself but as a citizen and is a guaranteed way to have bailiffs turn up on your door step. You will end up paying unnecessary court costs, bailiffs fees and interest when your friend should have manned up and simply paid for their mistake in the first place. The insurance company doesn't want to go to court, they simply want to work out a deal that is just.


Legally the driver is responsible for losses that they cause. It is not the owners fault it was crashed, it is the drivers fault. The at-fault driver is responsible for losses to BOTH cars, so from a legal standpoint, you of all people should not be left out of pocket.


Igor the earlier obfuscation about WOF's etc. The physical act of speeding, driving with no WOF or crashing is what is illegal. It is not illegal to own a car that has no WOF, that can speed or that can crash. 





Agreed, bury your head in sand hoping it will go away wouldn't help you. Be proactive and provide all the information (proof) to the insurance company who's the responsible driver at the time is the only way out from here.



15214 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2339882 17-Oct-2019 16:47
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IANAL. What would happen if driver that caused the accident was riding a borrowed bike instead, and they caused the accident? I am guessing in that case, the rider would be chased up by the insurance company, and not the owner of the bike. Surely the drivers details were recorded when it occurred, or did they only record the cars details? IMO we really need third party insurance which would hopefully have  helped with this type of thing. 


1567 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2339935 17-Oct-2019 21:33
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Igor the earlier obfuscation about WOF's etc. The physical act of speeding, driving with no WOF or crashing is what is illegal. It is not illegal to own a car that has no WOF, that can speed or that can crash. 



Up until this point, your post was excellent and very informative (as judged by a RL lawyer) but the above statement is dangerous if people take it to the Nth degree in circumstance where they knowingly lend a dangerous car to someone or let someone borrow a car with knowledge that the person is likely to cause an accident (or is judged by the law as being ought to know that the borrower of the car is a risk to others). For example, a lot of people describe a car as being "theirs" when it is owned by a limited company through which they trade. That company is a Person Conducting a Business Or Undertaking (PCBU) under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). One of the duties of any PCBUs under the HSWA is to ensure that a "workplace" (which is defined to include a place where work is "...customarily carried out for a business or undetaking" and is further defined to include a PCBU's vehicle) is, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risks to the health and safety of any person.


And a sole trader who trades in his or her own name is also a PCBU. If the car was in shocking condition and it's lent to somebody who later causes an accident, it's at least conceivable that the PCBU might hear from WorkSafe.


There are also criminal laws against giving encouragement and facilitation (generally speaking - not going to quote chapter and verse here for brevity) to others' criminal conduct. By way of examples, there have been people convicted of being a party to another's drink driving or dangerous driving through (for example) knowingly allowing obviously drunk people to move a car or egging people on to drive dangerously.


Then there's also the issue of contributory negligence in civil law to consider. In particularly extreme/egregious cases where, for example, the owner of a car knowingly allows another to drive a car without brakes and then the driver proceeds to crash and damage another's property, it's more than conceivable that the innocent party may look to claim against both the driver and owner of the car to optimise their chances of recovery.


However, generally speaking and as someone who has advised people in similar situations in community law centres as a volunteer lawyer, I can safely tell the OP that if the car was in average/acceptable condition (even if it's not judged as 100% roadworthy by the police despite having a WOF etc - remember, the starting point of the law is that it is up to the driver of a vehicle to ensure that they only operate a roadworthy vehicle when driving) and you didn't do anything stupid in letting your mate borrow your car (e.g. knowing that he or she only has a restricted licence and letting the person borrow it at 4am), the insurance company won't be interested in going after you. But if you just refuse to respond to them, they may well file either District Court or Disputes Tribunal (depending on the value of the claim) against you and if you proceed to ignore those as well, you risk getting a default judgment against you that will cost plenty of time and effort to overturn.





729 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2339947 17-Oct-2019 22:01
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I still find it very hard to believe that insurance (at least 3rd party) is not compulsory.



So owning a vehicle becomes more expensive, more out of reach for poorer people and insurance companies can screw over a captive audience? Yeah. Going to pass on that one. 





If someone cant afford even 3rd party insurance, then yep, they shouldn't be on the road.


I agree though with insurance companies and the captive audience. Would take strong regulation by Govt, comcom to ensure that the 3rd party element wasn't excessive and that just opens up a whole can of worms.



I have to totally agree with this - it's a simply fact of life that owning a vehicle comes with some direct costs - maintenance, insurance and WOF/registration - simply if people can't afford to keep their car legal and to insure it (or pay for damage that they may cause) then they can't really afford to own a car at all... It isn't a right...





yeah its not a right - but it is often a need....and when you only have so much $$$, i understand why some people do make this choice



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