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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I had a very minor car accident December last year when I was

Customer Question

I had a very minor car accident December last year when I was driving around a roundabout and a woman driving in the inside lane clipped my rear wheel arch. I stopped to exchange details, she got out with her 2 friends and shouted abuse at me and drove off without exchanging details. I filled out the form at the police station and handed it in as I know all accidents should be reported, especially this where a driver drove off without giving details. I thought I wouldn't hear again but then my insurance people, Direct Line, contacted me to say that the other driver was making a claim against me as the accident was my fault. I knew that it wasn't my fault and that the only witnesses were the 2 women in the car with her. I checked that in English law you cant use a witness that was in the car with you. I assured Direct Line that I would be willing to defend myself in court as I have NEVER had an accident that was my fault. I am a general practitioner and have been driving in the area for over 20 years and have a full no claims bonus and it wasn't me that drove away without exchanging details!

This week I got a letter from Direct Line to say that the other driver had found an independent witness- after nearly 8 months-and that therefore they were not contending it and the accident was my fault. I know that there were no other witnesses, therefore whoever this person is lying presumably for money.

Is there anything I can do? Obviously I feel a deep sense of injustice and I am now very worried as clearly this is a well known scam (I have had patients who have told me that this was done to them, I didn't really believe them that anyone could be that horrible, I guess its something that is just an easy way of defrauding money out of insurance companies).
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High
Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008.
During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousand's of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in
minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case.

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Were in the road were you positioned?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was on the Green man Roundabout in Leyton, it has 3 lanes. I was in the middle lane and the other driver was in the inside lane, behind me, as we turned around the roundabout in the lanes, she must have just slightly drifted into my lane. It was such a slight impact that for a second I didn't even realise I was hit.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Let me
tell you now that direct line probably have the best administration and claims
service of any of the insurers. That comes at a price because their premiums
are not cheap but you only discover that the claims service is good (for what
you pay) when you have a claim which hopefully, you will never have.

previous claims (or rather, lack of,) is largely immaterial.

I can
also tell you that accidents on roundabouts are notoriously difficult to prove
and if they are proved, to defend. You say that the woman drifted into your
lane and she is likely to say that you drifted into her lane and therefore I
think the best that you could hope for would be that the claim is settled

if this goes to court the matter would be decided on the balance of
probabilities and whilst I accept that the witness may be lying through their
teeth and it seems absolutely incredible that they only discovered this person
after eight months.

contesting this is likely to cost between £5000 and £10,000 if it goes to court
and the judge finds in the other drivers favour simply because he prefers their
version of events and believes the witness.

suggestion (which you do not have to take) will be to write to direct line (do
not try to deal with this on the telephone to tell them that you are aware of
how difficult it is to defend accidents on roundabouts and that whilst you do
not admit any liability, and you would prefer defend the matter to the hilt,
you are prepared to agree 50-50 liability.

appreciate that this is not the answer you wanted but there is no point in me
misleading you. I have a duty to advise you truthfully and honestly even if
that answer is unfavourable.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok thanks, I didn't even expect anything as positive as that answer so actually I am quite happy!Its made me feel like a criminal even though I am not! It just makes me so sad that people behave like this- I will try direct line as you suggest.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I am
glad to help, although direct line will not continue to defend your innocence at
all costs or necessarily accept 50-50 but I think that if they were asking me
the question, that is what I would tell them to try to settle on and I would tell the claimants the same if I was acting for them

Please don't forget to positively
rate my answer service

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating.