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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was riding a motorbike following a very slow driver (<20mph)

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I was riding a motorbike following a very slow driver (<20mph) in central London. I positioned myself to overtake. Visibility was good ahead and there was plenty of room to the right. I indicated and pulled out under good control. As i came alongside the car's driver side wing mirror the car suddenly pulled across my path towards a parking space to our right. The car hit the left hand side of my motorbike but i stayed upright. We both pulled over. I was not injured and my bike not damaged, but the car's front bumper had detached slightly at the front-right. The driver admitted that they had no looked and not indicated, and agreed to pay for their own repairs, so we shook hands and went on our way without exchanging details. I did not give my name. However, it transpires that the driver took note of my registration number and has made a claim against me alleging full fault. My insurance company have engaged a private investigator to take a statement but i have not confirmed that the incident took place at all. Please could you advise me on my position and suggest a course of action, likelihood of success etc.
Also, specifically, I would like to know whether i should maintain my ' ignorance' and make the other party prove that the incident actually took place and that i was even involved, or that there was actually any damage resulting from the alleged incident. There were no witnesses that i know of. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I'm not sure how you can maintain 'ignorance'. You accept this happened.
Have you reported it to your insurance company?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The incident took place more than 6 months ago but my insurance company have only recently been in touch with me. When asked over the phone I said that I didn't recall an incident (which was actually true as I was unsure about the dates given the passage of time). I have not reported the incident to anybody.

No, but you knew there was an incident?
Have you said anything untrue? It will change everything.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have not lied. I have only said on the phone with the insurance company that I did not recall the incident as they were very vague with details. There has been nothing at all in writing. I only ask this because it seems underhand for the other party to make a claim after agreeing not to at the scene, so I wonder whether they should be made to prove that the incident took place. I'm not actively trying to shirk my responsibilities.

No, but the insurance may have formed a view over this. It depends whether you were given enough information to identify the incident. The truth is that since you were able to recognise this incident though there must have been some detail.
In any event, you cannot 'maintain' ignorance. You can only tell the truth with these things. There was an incident and that has to be accepted.
On the face of the facts that you set down, the liability is his rather than yours although he probably doesn't accept your version of events.
The difficulty here may be that you didn't tell your insurers and they can be prickly about that sometimes. Sometimes there is a clause allowing them to escape liability if an incident is not reported to them although they are not going to invoke that probably for a low level damage only collision.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, thanks for clarifying the issue of my ignorance! I will speak to the investigator today with regard to my version of events.

With regard to the other party's version of events, how much grey area is there likely to be? Is there anything I need to be alert to? What are the likely scenarios where I could be held at fault or even 50/50?


Well, if it could be a mistake then that isn't the end of the world. Just tell them your version of events.
On the face of it, he pulled out in front of you. I suppose there could be contributory negligence if he is saying that you didn't stop in time but it is impossible really to predict what he is saying. People do lie through their teeth sometimes.
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