Crash vic­tim court out on in­sur­ance

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.’’

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