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.
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.
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.
also this all happened back in July 2014.
thanks for your help.
(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)
Ok - but have you passed this later letter on to the insurers?
oh no I haven't sent them a copy of the police letter, but i can do.
Yes I would do that. If you have legal cover they could deal with it.
After all that is what you have insurance for!
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
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?
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?
Well if one car went into the back of another then clearly they didnt leave enough room
This means its their own fault.
In order for the Police to charge you they would need to show your driving fell below the standards of a reasonable driver.
In any event they would need to charge you within 6 months of the accident otherwise its time barred
But if there was no contact with your car, then I can not see how you are at fault.
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?
Can I clarify anything else for you today?
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?
Yes I would not say that!
ok. thank you very much for your help, you've been great!
Happy to help. Can I help with anything else tonight?
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?
Yes that is right - they may take no action
is it a stock letter they use then?
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?
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
ok great thank you.
Can I help you with anything else tonight?
I think that's all. thanks for your help
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