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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I wonder if you can advise me over a situation my son is in: He

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I wonder if you can advise me over a situation my son is in:
He was asked by a friend to go out in her car with her for a drive, they went to a park where she produced cannibis for them to smoke, my son had a few smokes but she had considerably more and declared that she would no longer be able to drive and asdked him to drive them home. Scott had had previous conversation with her that he was not sure if he would be insured to drive her car but she still asked him to drive, as he had no phone or money with him and he did not know where he was he agreed. On the way home he was involved in an RTA at a cross road (it was not clearly marked and he went straight across), luckily nobody was harmed however the car was written off. The car owner happens to be the girls grandad who had the car on lease (apparently for her). The first question is:
As a learner driver would she be covered on a lease car?
The second is that my son Scott was not aware that as he has only 2 years experience he was not legally aloud to be her chaperone how does he/she stand there?
The crunch of it is that Scott's insurance company (he has his own car) or mine that he is the named driver on cover him for driving another persons car (he is only 24), so it appears that there is no insurance is in place.
The girl is now demanding that my son pays her £3000 to settle the repair bill or she will sue him in the law courts to pay £9000, she is not going through her insurance.
Where does he stand, is he liable to pay?
Many thanks

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Does he accept that the accident was his fault

Are police involved?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has not written a statement to admit fault, it was his fault in that he did not stop at the crossroad junction, however, it is an accident black spot and there were witnesses that told him to take pictures of the road setting , it was poorly lit, the trees had been overgrown on the give way sign which had been cut back but the sign was covered in algae and had not been cleaned off so was not reflecting, the accident occurred at 9:50 at night so it was dark, the white lines were not clear.

Police were called, scott gave a statement in the police car to 2 seperate police officers, he did admit that he had smoked cannibis and he was arrested, blood tests were taken and he is awaiting the outcome.

If your son is a named driver on your insurance it is unlikely he would be insured to drive another car.
Many policies even in a person’s own name now exclude driving other cars.
Assuming this is the case then he is not insured and he is lucky that he is not being prosecuted by the police for driving without insurance
He was at liberty to refuse to drive.
However she is not blameless because she asked him to drive without knowing whether he was insured or not although she would escape blame if she can prove that she asked the question and he replied that he was.
It is impossible to say whether the girl would be insured for the car or not without seeing her paperwork but I cannot see that it is relevant as it was not her driving that caused the problem but your sons.
Even if she is insured, she does not have to put the claim through her own insurance company and she is free to pursue him through the Small Claims Court if she wishes.
If he has something which says that she will settle for £3000 but if he does not pay she will sue him for £9000, it depends on the value of the car and whether there is another insurance claim as to whether what she is asking for is reasonable or not.
To answer your question, he was at liberty not to drive and the accident appears to be his fault.
He is not insured and therefore he is liable for the cost of whatever it costs to either repair the car or for the cost of the value of the car.
The fact that she may or may not be insured to drive the car and that she had too much substance and asked him to drive is not relevant unless the police get involved and he alleges that she is a party to any criminal proceedings.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Okay I do have a few questions regarding the the girl who was the passenger in the car. If she was to make a claim through small claims court for the sum of £9000 would that not make her subject to prosecution? As I believe, the law states if she willingly let's a person drive her car without insurance or without asking to be provided with relevant insurance documents then that is a criminal offence.
My question is with out any written proof of wether or not insurance documents were proven to the girl, how can either party be more or less to blame than the other?
I would also like to bring to your attention, on the night of the accident when the police arrived and also the day after when we informed our relevant insurers of the accident (purely for legal purposes not to make any claim) my insurance states that permission to drive other vehicles extends to the policy holder and named persons. As the police officers also told him the insurance said he would be covered on the named driver policy. Would that not be cause for Scott and myself to believe he would be covered? Whilst informing the insurer of the accident we asked and they said that it would not be the case and stated that the policy wording is wrong. Where do we stand on that issue?
I will have a look at this now for you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much. She has given Scott a dealine of 12 midday today to respond regarding the £3000 so time is tight I am afraid, she has been very agressive.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please can you let me know when you will be able to repond to this query, can I also check that your responses are revant to English law?

Many thanks

It depends whether the police are aware of the incident and decide to prosecute her for allowing an uninsured driver to drive the car. It may not be her, it could be her grandfather if the car is in her grandfather's name is ***** ***** keeper.
However her injury claim is one thing and the prosecution for allowing an uninsured driver to drive the car are 2 different things. She is still entitled to be compensated for her injuries.
There is no harm in reporting this to the police although you cannot tell her that unless she drops it you will report it because that is blackmail.
If your son is insured on the policy, this should be passed on to the insurance company to deal with and let them deal with it.
The fact that he may or may not have been allowed to sit with her on the outward journey is not relevant for the purposes of the claim.
He has a full licence and therefore he was able to drive the car back legally provided he was not under the influence of any drugs. If he was and is being prosecuted for that, although the insurance company will pay out if he is insured, they will want to recover the cost of the claim from him.
Earlier, I did say that it would be very unusual for a named driver to be insured to drive another car because many insurance companies are removing the entitlement even for the policyholder. Whether he is insured to drive the car or not and therefore whether the insurance company should be dealing with this or not comes down to whether the policy covers him or not. For that, you need to check the policy and the schedule and the certificate. If the policy wording is wrong, that is unfortunate for the insurance company and they must pay out subject to what I said before about driving under the influence. If they will not pay out, make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman and tell the insurance company that you are doing so.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The police are not aware that she asked Scott to drive as an uninsured driver as they checked and they advised Scott that there were 2 ploicies in his name and 1 was showing that he was insured, however when I check with my insurance company they said he was not, the same with his company as he is under 25. However Scott did tell her that he was not sure if he would be covered prior to the journey as she had asked him to drive on a former occasion and he refused.

Her cliaim is not for injury it is for the repair or replacement of the vehicle that was damaged in the accident, she is not going through insurance, she is scrapping the car and purchasing a replacement, she is demanding £3000 towards the cost of this.

Unfortunately Scott was under the influence of Cannibis as she provided it and that is why she was unable to drive and asked Scott to do so. Scott believes he had not had too much, blood tests were taken and he is awaiting the result of this from the police.

What our main query is, is she in a position to force Scott to pay for the damage to her car?

Many thanks


If she had been stone cold sober the chances are that she would not be able to recover this money because she would have been willing and knowing.
However if she was incapable of driving, she can escape liability.
There is already case law on that the name of which escapes me but was regarding an aeroplane pilot who crashed a plane while drunk but the passenger was sober. The passenger sued for injuries and lost because she went into the plane knowing the pilot was drunk.
Circumstances here are similar although not exactly the same.
If the policy documents quite clearly state that drivers to 25 or not covered, then obviously, he is not insured and there is no point in pursuing that.
She can only take into court for whatever losses she can prove whether that is £3000 or that is £9000.
If she takes him to court for £9000 he can produce the document whereby she originally estimated her loss at £3000.
It is up to him whether he agrees to settle this or whether he let her take her to court and lets the court decide the issue.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I am sorry I have not responded for a few days, we have been going through the paperwork and trying to make a case. Can I just check with you the circumstances for the money that they are asking for as they are not going through their insurance company and will not be repairing the car, they have decided to pay off the finance by taking out a loan and also buy a new car, they are asking Scott to pay for the repayment of the loan, how does he stand under these circumstances?

They have not provided Scott with any formal documents to show the cost of repair to the damage or the replacement of the vehicle or to purchase the new vehicle despite asking for them.

In addition, Scott has today received a letter from the second driver that he colided with insurers stating that they will be making a claim for damages and personal injury, they have sent this to her insurers, who will be liable for this?

Many thanks


Assuming that he is liable for this, the car owner is entitled to be put back into the position that they would have been had the incidents not occurred and that would be the pre-accident value of the car which would be somewhere between retail and bottom trade book. It is the price that would be paid by a willing buyer from a willing seller.
People use Auto trader and eBay to value their cars but it isn't particularly reliable as the cars are very often not sold and the likes of the sites give a more accurate indication of what the car would be worth.
What your son does need to do is make sure that whatever he pays it is in full and final settlement of all claims by the grandfather and the girl in respect of the damage to the car and any injuries and anything else because the last thing he wants is her to go and see a no win no fee personal injury solicitor and have yet another claim against him.
He has also liable for the damage to the other car and any injuries to the drivers. It will probably be passed on to the insurance company that insured the car and they will want to recover the money from him.
Your son is in the unfortunate situation of having driven a car with no insurance and had an accident and unfortunately, he is responsible for all the damage that flows from that. If he goes bankrupt of course, that is the end of the claims but I don't know whether bankruptcy is an option for him.
If he has no assets, all the claimants can do would be to bankrupt him but that will cost them money and they will get nothing from it so sometimes, if a defendant has no assets they will simply leave it
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My son has no assets, he has no job and was working for himself but cannot get any work at the moment so he has nothing to give them, he thinks that maybe his best option is to let them get on with it and say and do nothing??

He is signing on tomorow and will be going to doctors next week, he is suffereing from terrible depression, its so sad to see such a good, strong lad go down hill like he has throug one bad decision.

If you advise against this then of course I will advise him accordingly.

I have found your advise very valuable and of course will provide feedback accordingly.

Many thanks


There is nothing to be gained by doing nothing. I would tell them that he has no money, no assets and if they pursue this he will have no option but to go bankrupt.
Thank you for the comments.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK I will ensure he does this, many thanks


No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile