Crash victim court out on insurance
A woman who survived a freak head-on crash in Pukerua Bay four minutes after her son was in another head-on crash on the Kapiti Coast is being denied a payout by AA, because the insurance giant says third-party drivers are not covered when nobody is at fault.
Brooklyn woman Annie O’halloran- Price, 65, made national headlines after her March 13 accident. She was driving north on State Highway 1 in the early morning when a wheel came off a ute travelling south, crashing into her Suzuki Escudo and causing her to collide with the car behind the ute.
Mrs O’halloran-price spent five nights in intensive care with broken ribs, wrist and arm, and a punctured lung. Nobody else was seriously injured.
Four minutes earlier Mrs O’halloran-price’s son Anthony O’halloran was driving on Waterfall Rd near Raumati when a boy racer came round a blind corner at 130 kilometres an hour on the wrong side of the road, smashing into his vehicle. Mr O’halloran walked away unharmed and the boy racer was treated for pelvic injuries.
Mrs O’halloran- Price was uninsured but the ute had comprehensive insurance with AA. However, she is being denied the $6000 she needs to replace her car and pay for towage and storage fees.
‘‘It begs answering, what is third- party insurance?’’ she says.
Mrs O’halloran- Price says she could not afford insurance and cannot afford to replace her car.
‘‘I’m a pensioner,’’ she says. ‘‘I know I should have, and I have in the past, but I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t cause the accident.’’
She is still suffering from her experience.
‘‘The worst part has to be the nightmares. I always thought a head-on collision had to be the worst thing for a driver ever, and it is.’’
If a crash is a pure accident, only the insured driver is covered by comprehensive insurance, which combines third- party and first- party insurance, AA Insurance’s corporate affairs manager Amelia Macandrew says.
‘‘Regardless of what insurance they have, we won’t [cover the third-party driver] because of the situation where there’s no fault,’’ she says.
At present AA is not investigating whether the ute’s driver was at fault for allowing their wheels to be loose, Ms Macandrew says.
Mrs O’halloran-price’s husband Roger Price says the ute’s wheel mag was bent oval by the time it came off.
‘‘It was obvious the wheel had been loose for quite some time,’’ he says.
The couple is taking AA to the small claims court. They have no recourse to the insurance ombudsman until AA officially close the case, but AA say investigations are still going on, seven weeks after the crash.
The couple is also taking the ute’s owner to court, which they are reluctant to do but see no other recourse.
‘‘I feel so sorry for her,’’ Mrs O’halloran-price says. ‘‘She had insurance and this poor lady – she’s getting over her accident, getting her life together and she’s going to get a summons from us.’’