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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15443
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Ben - My daughter was a learner driver - insured as a

Customer Question

Hi Ben - My daughter was a learner driver - insured as a learner - and took the car out without anybody over the age of 25 in the car , but 4 passengers and was involved in a bad traffic accident. She was charged with dangerous driving & leaving the scene (which she didn't do immediately as was trapped in the car & was seen by paramedics). The problem is our insurance company are saying they have to cover payments as the car was insured by them - and they are then invoicing us for everything wit no chance to contest any of the claims - the accident wasn't (disputed) my daughters fault, the other car was driving too quickly - & now her passengers have seen an opportunity to claim for damages PTSD & not being able to work & it could potentially run into 100,000's - we seem to have no way to defend ourselves. Please could you advise. Thank you
JA: Where is she? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps has she taken so far?
Customer: We've not done anything - I guess hoping it would disappear as the other car was speeding (not Proved) - her friends have now seen an opportunity and turned nasty
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No - that's it, thank you
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

The insurer should have disputed liability for the accident first of all - they seem to have rolled over and paid out for the claim to the third party driver.

However please note that speeding is not evidence of negligence, so the Police report should be applied for to help determine who was liable for this accident.

You would be within your rights to make a complaint to the insurer now (which should put any enforcement on hold for their outlay) and then if they do not resolve the complaint, ask them for a final response - you then need to involve the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which is free to use. You can reach the FOS here: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
It would be hoped the Ombudsman will resolve this for you.
If not then you will be pursued by the insurer and they are likely to instruct a debt collection agency - the debt collectors have no powers as such so they cannot force entry to your property nor can they take goods.

If they pursue court action, they should send a letter before action to you if their debt collection attempts fail - which is required under the pre action protocol to give you the chance to avoid court action. They usually give you 14 days to pay before they will take civil court action.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help.

You should not ignore the court papers as if you do, the claimant will apply for judgment in default meaning they win and you would not be allowed to defend the claim.

A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record. But certainly I think you would succeed in a defence, just to be clear.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £14 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify). If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers.
If you would like me to give you a list of law firms who could defend a claim, please let me know and I will give you a few examples.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim