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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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car accident blame?

Resolved Question:

I've been accused of being a contributing factor to a car accident. I changed lanes then stopped at traffic lights on a roundabout. the car two cars back went into the back of the car immediately behind me though I was unaware of this at the time. I did not see the car behind me show any signs of distress at the time - they didn't toot / flash / swerve / gesture towards me. the only reason I think I recall the incident is because the car behind me moved a lane in as we pulled away from the roundabout & put their hazards on - at the time I just wondered what they were doing & remember thinking it was odd. now i've received a letter about me being the cause of the accident as the car behind me is apparently claiming injury. How should I approach this?

nb - I only found out about this because I received a letter from the police requesting details of the driver of my car & an information page stating they have reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was sufficiently blameworthy to conclude they were primarily responsible for the incident taking place. I called to then ask what accident they were talking about and with the date & details this is the only think I can think they're talking about.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Have you reported this to your insurers please?
Customer:

The insurers called around the same time as they received a letter from the other party insurance company but with no details. I just confirmed with them I wasn't aware of any accident - I then called the police to get some information and that's when the police said the car behind has reported I changed lanes and then stopped abruptly as the lights changed red causing them to swerve. I didn't see anybody swerve as I said.

Customer:

I do think I may have changed lanes later than ideal as I didn't know the area but I wouldn't have changed lanes if I thought it was dangerous or there wasn't space for me.

Customer:

also this all happened back in July 2014.

Customer:

thanks for your help.

Customer:

(oh and I haven't heard back from the insurers, they said they'd request more information from the other party insurance company but I've not heard back - i've not written back to the police request yet as I was hoping to get some information from the insurance company first)

Alex Watts :

Ok - but have you passed this later letter on to the insurers?

Customer:

oh no I haven't sent them a copy of the police letter, but i can do.

Alex Watts :

Yes I would do that. If you have legal cover they could deal with it.

Alex Watts :

After all that is what you have insurance for!

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

well i did tell the insurance company about the letter & they didn't request it and I asked them if they had any advice for replying & they said they didn't deal with that?

Alex Watts :

Ok./

Customer:

I'm mainly worried this will be a he-said she-said situation. if I didn't see any accident then can't they just say I wasn't paying attention? should I get a lawyer now to help me write a statement and avoid this situation or just put down what I told you & see how it progresses. I'm concerned I"m going to get blamed for an accident when I don't think I was driving irresponsibly?

Alex Watts :

Well if one car went into the back of another then clearly they didnt leave enough room

Alex Watts :

This means its their own fault.

Alex Watts :

In order for the Police to charge you they would need to show your driving fell below the standards of a reasonable driver.

Alex Watts :

In any event they would need to charge you within 6 months of the accident otherwise its time barred

Alex Watts :

But if there was no contact with your car, then I can not see how you are at fault.

Customer:

ok thank you, ***** ***** would have to be more than just this drivers word? is it odd she left 3 months to complain about my driving?

Alex Watts :

Yes indeed.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you today?

Customer:

Ok that's perfect thanks. one last question - should i say in my statement I was in an unfamiliar area and may have changed lanes later than ideal or do I open myself up for criticism?

Alex Watts :

Yes I would not say that!

Customer:

ok. thank you very much for your help, you've been great!

Alex Watts :

Happy to help. Can I help with anything else tonight?

Customer:

I think that's all. I'm going to write my statement and see what happens. although the letter says they'll decide whether to prosecute or send me on a course I assume once they get my letter they'll review the whole situation & I'm hoping just dismiss it. if not I'll get legal assistance then, is that the usual course?

Alex Watts :

Yes that is right - they may take no action

Customer:

is it a stock letter they use then?

Customer:

and sorry one last thing i promise - i should mention I saw the hazards when we pulled away even though I didn't realise there was an accident?

Alex Watts :

I don't think you should, I would just say that you pulled away and you saw the vehicles had stopped but you had no reason to suspect there was a problem

Customer:

ok great thank you.

Alex Watts :

Can I help you with anything else tonight?

Customer:

I think that's all. thanks for your help

Alex Watts :

Great. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today - the button should be at the bottom of the page

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

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