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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My car was damaged (rear ended) in queuing traffic by an HGV

Resolved Question:

Hi there,
my car was damaged (rear ended) in queuing traffic by an HGV (5th May 2016.) I took the drivers name, the company details, and photos following the incident. I have subsequently written to the company's owner / M.D (by registered letter 2 months ago) claiming for the damage to my car, (enclosing 3 repair estimates) but have had no response.
What should I do next? (I do not have the drivers full name and address, nor do I know for sure if he is an employee of the company.)
Regards,
Max
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

You have reported this to your insurers I presume?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have not informed my insurers of the incident as I was not the party at fault, the incident and the damage caused was minor and only to my vehicle, and there were no injuries. As a result I have no intention of claiming against my own insurance and risking losing my no claims bonus.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

Doesn't your insurance contract demand that you do disclose any incident?

That would be normal.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** check the terms of my insurance and act accordingly. However I do wish to personally pursue the third party for the damage caused to my car independently from my insurer, and if necessary take them to court.
Should I sue the driver, company, or both?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

What will it cost to put this right?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
All 3 repair estimates were between £950 - £1100
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

You could sue the driver. There is no reason that you cannot bring a small claims court claim against him.

What could happen though is that he could pass the claim onto his insurer as they are liable on his behalf. They will probably demand your insurance details and disclose to them. They can be a bit mercenary and will take any advantage that they see.

You need to disclose if your contract demands it for that reason alone.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

The advantage of suing the driver is that you probably won't meet with the aggression and experience of an insurance company.

The advantage of suing the insurers is that they may just settle and anyway can pay the award as the driver may not be able to.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

It really depends what you prefer.

I think overall I would sue the insurers but then I am comfortable with litigation.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you Jo, just to clarify, I only have his initials and surname, along with the company's address. Are you saying that only the driver and not the company is liable, if so, can I force the company to give me the drivers full name and address?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

No, both are liable.

I suppose you could get an injunction forcing them to disclose the name of the driver but the cost would be prohibitive.

If you have the registration number then you could ask the DVLA to disclose. You do have a good reason.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, so can you please confirm that I can sue the company for the damage in the small claims court?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

Yes, you can sue them.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you very much Jo, could you just clarify a final point for me; the liability of the company still applies regardless of whether the driver is an employee or independant contractor? (He was driving the company HGV.)
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

Oh yes, that is not your problem.

They are liable as his insurer.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Excellent, thank you very much Jo, I really appreciate your advice.