Am I liable for old claim?
QI WAS in a car crash over five years ago. It was low speed, seemingly bodywork only. I told the insurer the other car was on the wrong side of the road but it ignored me. I didn’t claim on our insurance – the car’s old, and would have been written off so we got second hand parts and a local repair person (£350 against a quoted £2,800).
I thought this was well in the past. But I’ve just had a letter from lawyers warning me the other driver is claiming over £10,000 for whiplash and she might sue me personally.
What does this mean? How can someone discover whiplash so long afterwards?
WHIPLASH claims continue to be a problem for motor insurers – those “have you had an injury” cold calls making matters worse. Typical motorists pay around £70 a year more to fund whiplash. Claiming has become harder but as your accident happened in 2013, it’s not covered by even tougher rules due this April.
For claims management companies, whiplash is an easy win. It’s almost impossible to prove someone is not suffering. For those who genuinely have it, it is painful. It usually happens when someone is shunted from behind (hence all those crash for cash scams where fraudsters undo brake lights so someone hits them at a junction) but you hit the other car on the front passenger door so whiplash is far less likely. It should not take five years to show but the law allows six years for claims.
A few insurers take tough attitudes but many reckon it is cheaper to roll over and pay than fight expensive legal actions which they could lose. Typical claims are for £3,000 – court and lawyer costs could be more.
This letter comes from lawyers acting for your insurer at the time of the crash, not your present one. It is to warn you what might happen but also to reassure you that your cover remains in force so any payment stays with your insurer. Some lawyers and claims management companies believe putting pressure on drivers with threats to sue personally increases the chances of success.
Whether to fight or not is up to the insurer – not you. Your letter is intended to prevent worry if you are sued personally. Claims companies know insurers have plenty of money and you don’t. Was £150, now £115.99. SAVE: £34.01
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