Drunk Driver Hit Our Trailer Parked on The Side of The Road

On Thu 30 Nov 17 at approximately 2305h I was sitting on the loo when I heard an almighty bang outside. I ran outside and saw my family's trailer turned almost 180 degrees and fragments from a Hyundai Accent littering the roadway. Upon walking further up my street, I saw a (allegedly) drunk Korean national in a damaged car. Long story short, the scumbag admitted to texting behind the wheel and despite his attempts to pay me off on the spot, the police were called and he was arrested for the purpose of a breath analysis after a preliminary breath test. The car was removed from my street between the hours of 1600-1910h the next day, however Europcar did not remove the debris on the road.

Important details:

  • trailer is a POS and is uninsured. When it is attached to any of my family's vehicles, it is covered as all our cars are comprehensively insured.
  • trailer was roadworthy prior to this incident
  • Europcar don't want to play ball and aren't interested in helping me recover any money
  • the Korean national claimed he had PR to my neighbour when he begged me to not call the police, and his boss lives in a Sydney suburb approximately 20 minutes away from me. However, on his NSW drivers licence, he has not supplied proof of permanent residency. His English was pretty poor and he only arrived in Australia the day before the incident, and was due to leave the country sometime in the next week
  • it is more than likely the scumbag blew a mid-range reading down at the station and will have to face Burwood local court at some point

How do I go about ensuring I can recover costs when the Korean national is a flight risk? How can I cause him maximum financial pain if he does not play nice? Is there any way to charge the clean up costs back to Europcar, as they have not been helpful at all?

Pics here: https://imgur.com/a/rzjaX

Edit: date

Comments

  • +69 votes

    Since this is going to happen in about 3 weeks, just move the trailer somewhere else around 2300h on the day of accident for about 10 minutes mate.

  • +3 votes

    "he only arrived in Australia the day before the incident" but you also say he has a NSW drivers license? Doesn't make sense - according to you he goes to the trouble of getting a NSW license, then has an accident the next day, and is due to leave Oz next week?

    • +2 votes

      His story didn't add up in bits. He talked to my neighbour in Korean and told him he had PR, then told the cops he didn't have PR. He told the cops he arrived in Australia the day before the incident, is leaving next week and produced a NSW licence.

      • +6 votes

        Gee, don't tell me someone who gets plastered, gets behind the wheels, and texts while driving might also be a (profanity) liar. Although I am amazed he actually admitted to it.

        I think you might have to just chalk this one up to a life experience and be grateful this reckless imbecile didn't seriously hurt or kill someone.

    • +2 votes

      It is possible to be in Australia for a time and get a license while here, then leave for a time, and later re-enter the country.

      source: have done so

  • +6 votes

    Just to clarify the Hyundai was hired from Europcar?

    Unsure if same scenario but with tolls, if you don't pay then the toll company charges Europcar who then charges you (plus an exorbitant admin fee).

    I am guessing if he is on bail for drink driving then he cannot go out of the country if it is part of his bail conditions.

    Given the complexity it is better to get legal advice on this but my suggestion is to get the boss to dock the damage out of his pay until repaid.

    •  

      Yes, the Korean national hired a Hyundai Accent hatchback from Europcar. The Korean national was too busy jabbering away to my Korean neighbour and begging him to convince me to not call the police. Bits and pieces of the story were put together over the course of events.

      I've searched court listings for his case but can't find it…

      • +3 votes

        Did you get a copy of the police report? You should be able to find his details and contact him to pay you back otherwise you will serve legal notice on him which may affect his job or his ability to travel (unsure if this is true but it does not sound like he would have a clue).

        • +1 vote

          I’ve contacted the cop shop, the cop managing this case doesn’t get back into the office until Thursday. In the meantime I’ve gotten quotes from two companies and when the time comes, I’ll get a towing company to remove the trailer.

  • +8 votes

    I would go down the route of issuing the car hire comapny with a letter of demand.
    Going through smalls claims would be an easy enough process.

    • +1 vote

      I would love to do that, but Europcar have dusted their hands of all responsiblity. I'm not sure if they can even do that because their T&Cs simply state drivers in serious breach of the T&Cs won't be covered, but do not address the issue of the insurance company compensating any innocent third party.

      Good Afternoon niggard,

      Your details have been forwarded for me to respond to regarding damage caused by our renter to your families trailer.

      We are yet to receive the full details of the claim and it is currently under review.
      As you have advised our renter was under the influence and arrested, it appears they will be in breach of the agreement and therefore not indemnified by Europcar for this accident.

      Our renter will be liable for full costs of our repairs and also responsible to pay your loss.

      I have noted the file with your comments and contact information.
      Once the file has been reviewed in full, we will come back to you with the final outcome.
      At this stage, Europcar can not assist you with your trailer costs and you will need to contact our driver and request payment.

      • +8 votes

        Lip service.
        Polietly decline your request in the hope you will go away.

        The small claims process will get you a result either way.
        I am no legal eagle however as it was their property that caused the damage to your property I would image the outcome would be favourable for your self.

        Attain 3 written quotes for the repair or replacement of your trailer, find a suitable letter of demand template and lodge it with the rental company.

        If you still do not get a result, lodge a claim in the small claims courts (google the process).
        No legal representation, small fee to lodge the claim.

        Gather all the prof you can, images, statements, police reports etc and have your day in court.

        Big international courporations will do as they please unless you hold them accountable.

    • +6 votes

      I'm not sure why you (or OP for that matter), think Europcar has any liability here. Want to enlighten me?

      • +1 vote

        I was going to say the same thing. They are only chasing Europcar because they are more likely to have money to pay.

      • +1 vote

        ^This. I hate Europcar as much as the next guy but any letter of demand can only go to the driver.

  • +5 votes

    You will have yo lodge a civil claim if he doesn't want to pay up. To be honest not worth it if he doesn't have PR. Does he even have any money to pay considering he's going to be up for thousands of dollars from europcar

    • +3 votes

      I don't care, I just want to screw this guy over as much as possible. The trailer is a POS and it would be nice to get something back for him damaging it, but it doesn't bother my parents too much if they have to spend a little bit of money disposing of it.

      • +4 votes

        Then send a letter of demand, wait and see what happens. Off to civil court if he doesn't pay.

        Europcar will cause him pain anyway. You should just move on.

        • +32 votes

          The more pain the better. I have no sympathy for people who blatantly drink and drive, nor those who text behind the wheel. Doubly so for those that do both at the same time. He never once apologised for the inconvenience caused, he only cared about avoiding the cops.

        • +2 votes

          @niggard: google "car accident letter of demand" and you should find a template you can use

        • +4 votes

          @niggard: I agree drunk driving/ texting and driving is f**king stupid, lucky guy didnt kill anyone and only damaged your trailer. He deserves whats coming.

        • +5 votes

          @niggard:

          Questionable Qualifications - Check
          No Insurance - Check
          Bad Driver - Check
          Texting - Check
          Drunk - Check
          Accident - Check
          No Apology - Check

          …yeah, he doesn't deserve sympathy if this is all accurate.
          What if you had a teenage daughter that was trying to sneak into the house at night, and this guy killed her on your street. It's not a far stretch. And it happens everyday (mostly in Russia/Dashcam).

        • +3 votes

          @Kangal: my parents were actually walking around the block at the time. If they walked a little faster they could've been hit. Could've, would've, should've - they're all just words at the end of the day though.

      • +5 votes

        You can't just "screw somebody over". You can claim damages, but if your trailer was a POS by your own reckoning, then your damages, and so the limit of your claim are also going to be minimal.

      • +2 votes

        congratulations .. you've now learned that by taking the vindictive ground you've just harmed yourself.
        You say he offered cash not to call cops.. you were under no duty to, you could have taken the $ and got the trailer fixed or not. He would still have had to sort out Europcar.

        You have no case against Europcar and pursuing this now with the driver whom you say is a foreign national is probably pointless as it will be more hassle than its worth.

        • -1 vote

          Lucky this trailer isn’t worth much then and my parents can buy another 2000 brand new 7x4 trailers from Bunnings right now if they wanted to tomorrow. He was drink driving and texting and very lucky he only hit a material object and not a person.

  • -3 votes

    Your insurance might help since the trailer is covered when connected to your car .

    If you have the rental car rego number just let them know he hit your trailer and you have insurance on your car but car wasnt damaged in accident just the trailer - leave out the car wasnt connected at the time but if pressed about it tell the truth and see what they do.

    • +8 votes

      So you advise to file a false claim? And the consequences are??

      • -3 votes

        Where did i say false claim ? I said leave out it wasnt connected when calling and then tell the truth when asked - how on any planet is that a false claim ? I did not say to lie to the insurance .

        Call them up , explain your trailer was hit and see what they say - they will ask you questions about the trailer and then be like they can or cant help because it wasnt connected to the car - they will possibly have better advice to give at the very least .

        Just dont outright call them up and be like - Hi im james and my trailer was hit but it wasn't connected to a car so its uninsured and there's nothing you can do bye - let them decide if they can help or not .

        • +1 vote

          They will say we don't have a policy for your trailer and then you say what next??

        •  

          @chumlee: Is there anything you can do or advice on what to do? Thanks for your help - bye.

        • +3 votes

          Semantics - sure you didn't say false claim but that by definition is a false claim - essentially you're trying to hoodwink them by knowingly omitting information that is crucial to the insurance company. Why pretend up a certain scenario when OP is already well aware of the policy and cover? And you're suggesting it in a public forum - I'd hate to take advice from you in any capacity.

        •  

          @vi9ilante: How do you know OP is well aware of every term and condition of his cover - you dont.

          Which is why a call wont hurt.

          But to knowing do what you are suggesting and call them up saying um i know im not covered because i read my insurance cover is stupid and doubly I'd hate to take advice from you in any capacity/

        •  

          @qwerty: This is bad advice. Insureds under policies have a duty of disclosure. If you knowingly omit that information then you've breached the duty. If they find out and deny the claim then this will cause difficulties getting insurance in the future. A high price to pay for a trailer that we are told is a "POS".

        • -1 vote

          @qwerty:

          So idiotic. Considering that there is a police report, and a korean neighbour as a witness, it will take about 2seconds for an insurance company to find out that the damaged trailer was not attached to the vehicle and therefore not an insured asset under the policy.

          So what you are saying, is that a person should lie on their insurance policy, and on being found out, suffer consequences such as having ALL of their insurances non-renewable due to fraud.

          Great advice champ. For the record, I used to work at two insurers. We loved finding this stuff out, and it was usually quite easy because people were as smart as you.

        •  

          @ankor: Funny that you used to work in insurance but cant read. Never once did i say to lie or commit fraud. I said call them up but dont say you know the trailer is not insured under the policy and see what they say.

        •  

          @qwerty:

          Let's play the quote train shall we:

          1. If you have the rental car rego number just let them know he hit your trailer and you have insurance on your car but car wasnt damaged in accident just the trailer - leave out the car wasnt connected at the time but if pressed about it tell the truth and see what they do.

          2. Where did i say false claim ? I said leave out it wasnt connected when calling and then tell the truth when asked - how on any planet is that a false claim ? I did not say to lie to the insurance .

          If you are really confused about this, try calling a local community legal centre and seeing what they say about your statement 1 and statement 2, and whether this would be considered a lie by omission or fraud.

        •  

          The insurer’s responsibility in asking questions

          For most types of insurance for consumers, it is enough for the person to correctly answer the questions on the application form. Section 21A of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) provides that an insurer cannot rely on an incorrect answer to an open-ended or vaguely worded question if the information it wanted could have been the subject of a specific question.
          In practice this means that, unless there is something exceptional about the person’s individual circumstances that should have been disclosed, the insurer cannot rely on a breach of the duty of disclosure to reject a claim if the person answered the questions correctly.

          Innocent and fraudulent non-disclosure

          The insurer may say it has rejected a claim because the person did not disclose information correctly in the application form. First check whether the question was clear and unambiguous - if not, it is possible to argue non-disclosure does not apply. If there is non-disclosure, it is important to determine whether the non-disclosure is innocent or fraudulent, as different consequences follow (see Consequences of non-disclosure, below).

          Innocent non-disclosure

          Non-disclosure is innocent if the person honestly fails to disclose a fact that they thought was irrelevant (or, more likely, have simply not thought about at all).
          Fraudulent non-disclosure
          Non-disclosure is fraudulent if the person knew a fact was relevant and still failed to disclose it.
          Consequences of fraudulent non-disclosure
          Under s 28 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth), if non- disclosure was fraudulent the insurance company can cancel the policy and refund the premium.
          This is the case even if two people applied for joint insurance, and one of them lied on the application without the other realising it.

          Under the Insurance Contracts Act - Its the insurers job to ask relevant questions in a claim not the customers to outright provide all info and its classified as non disclosure which is innocent or fraudulent but even in that case its still not fraud - fraud is saying the trailer was connected to a car at the time of an accident.

        • +1 vote

          @qwerty:

          First thing they will ask is the rego of the insured car. At that point you can either lie, which is fraud, or you can say it wasn't connected to a car in which case they will say "kthxbye".

          If you have the rental car rego number just let them know he hit your trailer and you have insurance on your car but car wasnt damaged in accident just the trailer - leave out the car wasnt connected at the time but if pressed about it tell the truth and see what they do.

          That is fraud already. You are trying to claiming something on your car insurance for an accident that your car wasn't involved in.

          You even quoted it yourself:

          Non-disclosure is fraudulent if the person knew a fact was relevant and still failed to disclose it.

          That is EXACTLY what you proposed OP should do. So yes, you did propose he commits fraud.

        • +2 votes

          @qwerty:

          Fraudulent non-disclosure
          Non-disclosure is fraudulent if the person knew a fact was relevant and still failed to disclose it.

          The fact that a car and trailer are connected / not connected is directly relevant to whether the trailer is an insurable loss under the comprehensive motor insurance policy. Thank you for proving my point for me.

        •  

          @ankor: Thank you for missing the first key point - That insurers are the ones to ask relevant questions.

        •  

          @MrTweek: Under the very act you are trying to quote with the key point you miss is that its the insurers job to ask relevant questions THAT supersedes the second point whether if it is innocent or fraudulent misrepresentation .

        • +2 votes

          @qwerty:

          An insured person has a duty of disclosure, which is acknowledged in basically all insurance contracts and in legislation pertaining to insurance matters. You are mistaken as to the effect of the legislation you have put up because you haven't considered this legislation in its entirety.

          On the flip side, insurers also have a duty to ask reasonable questions in any investigations that they do as a part of the claims process. This is also a common feature of insurance legislation.

          Again, call a local NSW CLC near to your area and spend some time talking to a real solicitor. http://www.clcnsw.org.au

          TL:DR - you're wrong.

      •  

        On a public forum too. Very wise!

  • +5 votes

    I would give NSW legal aid a ring and see if they can recommend the best way forward. I think this guy is going to skip the country and you are going to be out of pocket. Best of luck with it though.

  • +3 votes

    Is his surname Un?

    Then I would pretend nothing happened.

  • +11 votes

    despite his attempts to pay me off on the spot

    Maybe you should have grabbed that, and then called police. Language barriers can work both ways

    •  

      Hindsight is 20/20… but you're right.
      Then again, I doubt he had something like a couple hundred-thousand(s) dollars just laying there nilly willy.

    • +2 votes

      Thats a bit dodgy dont you think? It will only look worse if you accept money then charge him as youre being immoral by intentionally breaking a gentlemans agreement. Even if the Korean guy did the wrong thing, treating him like shit for the sake of it or to teach him a lesson wont magically fix everything and then you [OP] turns into the bastard. In my opinion get your money for a repair or tow or cleanup or whatever you need and be on your way. The perp did clearly do the wrong thing though OP and I side with you on that but doesnt hurt to be the bigger man every once in awhile.

      •  

        Yes one would be such a cad for breaking a gentleman's agreement. What would they say at the polo club, chaps would be aghast.

  • +9 votes

    I was sitting on the loo when I heard an almighty bang outside. I ran outside and saw my family's trailer..

    Can I ask whether you wiped before you leapt up off the toilet?

  • +7 votes

    I'm not reading all the comments, I'm just going to tell you what needs to be done. This is 100% correct information.

    Driver of motor vehicle in an accident is REQUIRED to provide to any other party involved (another driver, or owner of damaged property, or person injured), the following information:

    Name and address of driver
    Name and address of owner of vehicle
    Details of vehicle registration

    And if possible, insurer details and relevant contact information.

    Police become involved if a party is suspected of being intoxicated, or a party is injured to the point that medical assistance is required (ambulance), or the accident has caused an obstruction to traffic.

    Being that police were in attendance, they should have facilitated this exchange of information.
    If that information hasn't been provided to you, contact the officer who attended who will then provide that information. It's not a breach of privacy because its a requirement of law that the information is given to you.

    You can also request a police report number, but don't have to be provided the actual report. This information can be obtained by the insurer if required (or by you with a Freedom of Information request).

    Because you aren't insured, you don't have an insurer to place the demand on the other party on your behalf.
    In which case you need to either place the demand in writing yourself to Europcar, or engage a solicitor to do so.

    The fact that the driver is a foreign national doesn't matter. The car was owned, registered, and insured by an Australian entity (the owner, being Europcar). Forget about the driver. The owner and actual party that holds the insurance is who you are now chasing…. and they will chase the owner for costs.

    Yes the trailer is a POS, but you've still suffered a loss.
    Being that the cost of a solicitor would outweigh the cost of it, I would instead draft a letter of demand and send it via registered post to Europcar.
    In that letter you need to explain your claim, provide a quote for the repair/replacement of the trailer, and give reasonable notice for any action to be completed. Failing that, you will have grounds to file a claim in your relevant state Court of Small Claims/Tribunal. It's minimal cost, doesn't have solicitors, and offers a mediation session prior to proceedings to have the matter dealt with.

    My thinking is that if you don't have a solid grasp of the English language, get a friend or professional to help you.

    Keep all records of any communication and be reasonable in your claims and demands.

    You certainly don't have to just "let it go" because the other party is ignoring you. That's litigation 101… ignore the other party's demands until it get serious, and more than half just go away by that point.

    DO NOT GO AWAY.

    • +12 votes

      Why do people keep saying Europcar is responsible? Yes, they have insurance on the car, and likely also sold insurance to the driver. But it's the driver who's at fault, and who decides whether or not to make a claim against that insurance - and it'll be the wording of that insurance policy whether he's covered in that situation or not.

      • +2 votes

        The T&Cs of the rental agreement is worded very vaguely. At any rate, Europcar is covered, just not any third parties if things go wrong.

        • +1 vote

          Yeah, that's usually how it goes. Europcar's agreement is between them and the driver. You don't really have a link to Europcar, only to the driver.

      • +4 votes

        Yeah, that's like if a terrorist rented their car and went around the city running people over and causing property damage and Europcar had to pay for it all.

      • -1 vote

        The driver is responsible, but the owner of the vehicle is also accountable.

        Hit up the registered owner until they pass you on to the driver.
        The owner needs to be made aware that there is an outstanding damages claim being made, and will pass on such a claim to the known driver.

        It is then up to the driver if they wish to claim on the policy insurance.
        As this has probably already occurred (and Europcar has already stung him for the excess on the damage to the car), then the claim will bounce back to Europcar's insurance.

        You must involve the owner. The owner is the holder of the insurance… its CAR insurance, not driver insurance. It stays with the car, and most (if not all) car rental companies in Australia have insurance that covers damage to the car AND third party damage.

        As already mentioned, yes it depends on the wording of the insurance policy on what is covered, but that's not your problem that's the drivers problem.

        Europcar first.
        They will deny responsibility by providing the known driver details, and send you a letter stating that fact.
        That letter is your evidence to hit up the driver directly, and if that fails evidence for the Small Claims Court in your state that the person you're claiming from is the right person.

        To proceed to small claims, you need something from the registered owner telling you (and the Court) that they aren't taking responsibility and have provided you with the person who is responsible.

        • +1 vote

          Yes - it's the owner who'll have insurance. But if the owner isn't liable, their insurance is irrelevant.

          To proceed to small claims, you need something from the registered owner telling you (and the Court) that they aren't taking responsibility and have provided you with the person who is responsible.

          Uh, no. This is completely wrong. You don't need anything of the sort. All you need is to show that the driver was driving. This is irrespective of whether even the driver has insurance or not - again, if the driver has insurance, that covers the liability of the driver. They only pay if the driver is liable - aka when the driver loses the small claims case if the driver decides to fight it.


          Look, no disrespect, and you seem to want to help. But whatever knowledge you think you have in this area, you don't. You really really don't. So please don't pretend you do, because others with less knowledge might actually listen to you and get something wrong.

        •  

          The driver is responsible, but the owner of the vehicle is also accountable.

          could you please provide a link that supports your opinion on this specific case?

        • -4 votes

          @0blivion:

          Putting "no disrespect" before making condescending comments about someone doesn't change the fact you're being disrespectful.

          I'm not pretending to give advice, and your arrogance is not only offensive its also concerning, because people might listen to YOUR advice.

          If you honestly think the registered owner of a motor vehicle has nothing to do with an accident that motor vehicle is involved in (regardless of who was driving), then I've got nothing further to add to this conversation- and I'll very much be happy to agree to disagree.

          If anyone is reading this and is confused…. please, cover off on the registered owner.
          It's one extra step in the process that other posters are happy to ignore, but it IS useful.

          I've got nothing further to say on the matter, with all due respect to anyone who happens to disagree.
          (and that's the correct way you ensure no disrespect, in case anyone is interested)

        •  

          @whooah1979:

          Certainly.

          http://www.legalaidact.org.au/pdf/publications_caraccidentbr...

          Most states are similar, in that OWNERSHIP details are required to be exchanged.
          The owner IS a party involved in the process until it is determined that they are not.

          This also shows a letter of demand example, which may assist.

        • +1 vote

          @UFO:

          http://www.legalaidact.org.au/pdf/publications_caraccidentbr...

          thanks for the link.

          the publication by legal aid act doesn't seems to support your opinion in this case that the registered operator is liable for damages caused by the driver.

        • +1 vote

          @UFO:

          The owner IS a party involved in the process until it is determined that they are not.

          The owner IS a party involved in the process isn't the same as but the owner of the vehicle is also accountable. https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/347124#comment-5377429

          accountable implies that registered operator is responsible and liable for the lessee's actions.

        • +2 votes

          @UFO:

          Most states are similar, in that OWNERSHIP details are required to be exchanged.
          The owner IS a party involved in the process until it is determined that they are not.

          Yes, the owner is a party in that whole thing. That still does not automatically mean that they are liable for anything they didn't do.

          Of course you need to exchange details of the owner. Some examples why:

          • Owner might have insurance that covers other drivers
          • Owner might want to claim compensation from the other party if the driver of their car was not at fault
          • Owner might have some liability i.e if the car was not registered or not roadworthy
          • Owner might have some liability if they let someone drive their car who they knew was drunk or didn't have a licence
          • Car might be stolen and the owner has no idea

          I can't see anything reasonable or logical in this situation that leads to Europcar being liable for their customers.

          It would be crazy to run a car rental agency if you'd be liable for every single uninsured accident. They'd be bankrupt in no time.

  1. samBee on 04/12/2017 - 18:20
  2. niggard on 04/12/2017 - 19:00
  3. hell0 on 04/12/2017 - 19:19
  4. 0blivion on 04/12/2017 - 23:50
  5. Baysew on 04/12/2017 - 20:03
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