Car Accident - Who Is at Fault? (Turning Right into Driveway - Uninsured)

Hi Ozbargain,

Just got into a car accident and thought I'd ask the experts

I was turning right into my driveway with blinker on. A car gave way, and I proceeded to turn. As I was turning, a car came from the parking lane (to overtake the two cars that were giving way) crossing a solid line. I managed to brake but she did not. The right corner of her car collided with the front-right side of my car. My car had a scratch but the entire front-right corner of her car was damaged.

Since we do not have any witnesses who will most likely be determined at fault here? (i.e. what will the damage show in this case)

Thanks.

edit: Diagram requested by Spackbace (our competition overlord)

Edit 2: The spot right past the shoulder lane solid line marking is a bus stop (until driveway 2) to which it then dotted lines start after that

Comments

    •  

      A bit sick of sounding a bit judgemental, the trouble is the same people would rarely have the assets to cover even a basic claim let alone one in the 10s to 100s of thousands.

      Then they claim financial hardship and are awarded payment plans along the lines of mere dollars per week. The system is a joke that I, family, friends and many others have been burned by too many times before for me to grant them any sympathy anymore. The whole driving/insurance world seems to be one of the worst for these occurances.

      Given our PC world now, there would be an uproar if the government were to make property damage insurance compulsory across the board.

      I'm surprised there is still different governing bodies and different rules across all states. It wasn't that long ago you technically couldn't ride interstate without having to change your motorcycle helmet several times as different states permitted different standard helmets. Absurd.

      I think in a perfect world, our licence would cover the relevant (property damage) insurance required to drive/ride on our roads and that way you would be covered to hop in other vehicles.

      It still bugs me that the TAC premium is tacked onto your registration (in Vic) and not your driver's licence. If I own multiple vehicles, I'm paying the TAC premium multiple times for vehicles I can only utilise once at any given time.

  • -1 vote

    Absolutely pointless post because the other party will always tell the story differently so that THEY are the innocent party.

    Also we dont know if OP's version is an accurate account of the events either.
    Somehow witnesses always have a different viewpoint. What a pity there werent any.

    I havent seen one post here where the poster claims they are guilty and looking for confirmation. Funny about that.

    OP needs to leave it up to the insurance companies to work it out, even if the other party addmitted fault. (Always get it in writing).
    Seen that too then suddenly the other party is claiming you are at fault.

    Like I say, wasted effort on everyones behalf - no offense to OP

    •  

      If you take that logic (automatically assuming everyone is a liar or we can't tell if they are lying), then there's no point of discussing anything on ozb. It may surprise you that there are actually some honest people out there looking for genuine advice. There are many threads with liars yes but there are also many threads where a company representative has stepped in due to OP telling the truth. If two sides are saying they are innocent then most of the time one side is correct based off statistics.

      •  

        Let's just review the only question you asked in your original post.

        Since we do not have any witnesses who will most likely be determined at fault here? (i.e. what will the damage show in this case)

        The insurer of the person who hit you (assuming they have insurance) will claim you're at fault, because that's what insurers do for the people who pay them money for a policy.

        You have no insurer to back you up, so if the insurer of the person who hit you claims you're at fault, you'll need to contest that with the insurer.

        If you can't come to an agreement then it'll need to head to civil claims court and be determined there. I can't predict how a judge will view your case because I'm not the judge who will rule on your case and I don't know how compelling the evidence will be from the person who hit you because I don't have their side of the story.

        Do you need any more info?

    •  

      I havent seen one post here where the poster claims they are guilty and looking for confirmation. Funny about that.

      That's a riduculous statement - if someone knows they are guilty, then there's really nothing more to the story. The question here is that OP is in a situation where OP could potentially be guilty and OP wishes to know other peoples' opinion as to whether OP is actually guilty.

  •  

    I'm not sure if this makes a difference but the place she crashed was right at a bus parking stop I.e. just directly before my driveway

    •  

      This is exactly what Amayzingone is referring to in the post above and it happens in every thread like this.

      A person presents a story, people comment on it based on the information available, then the person who originally presented the story drip feeds more information that is very relevant, albeit much too late. People read the new information and then decide that OP is just another example of an unreliable narrator and they move on to the next thread that triggers them.

      You just need to post a Google pin of where the accident occured so people can look at the street view and see the exact street markings etc. Then you need to answer every relevant follow up question that people have so they know you're serious in wanting advice.

      •  

        That is a bit of a dramatisation, its only been a day since the accident + I have been working. Thats not the same case as people who hide guilty info for days. I only noticed the bus stop (thought it was normal parking) and fed this info asap above. But reposting in case people missed. I will try get the google map

        Also based off what people have said it seems it does not matter whether she was doing something illegal, I will still be at fault.

        If I'm an unreliable narrator that is because the information I had at the time truly was limited.

        •  

          It doesn't really matter whether it's a bus stop, parking or anything else.

          Your issue is that you have no evidence or eyewitnesses, so it's going to be your story vs. the story of the person who hit you.

          If the person who hit you decides to claim through their insurance, that insurer will claim you're at fault. You need to work out what you're going to do if that happens.

          •  

            @Nomadesque: Ok, was checking if her passing through a bus stop would clear anything up. I'm trying to see if I should fight against or just pay it. Another info point is that accident happened on Tue 9AM. I have not yet been contacted. Not sure when is normal for this to happen (first time accident in 10+ yrs)

            •  

              @takutox: If the insurer contacts you, you're free to present the evidence you have which you believe demonstrates that you weren't at fault.

              If they come back and say "nope, you're still at fault", then you need to decide if you're going to take the matter to court.

              Do you honestly have no evidence at all? Not even some photos you might have taken after the incident happened?

              •  

                @Nomadesque: If it happened as OP said, there's no weaselling out of it.

                Speeding or not, anyone turning right has to give way to all traffic. It's a common sort of collision, and insurance companies deal with this all the time.

                Any "evidence" you provide will be filed, and the reply OP is going to get will be as generic as they can possibly come.

                "We have reviewed the evidence you sent in and have come to the conclusion that you are 100% liable for all damages"

                Don't believe me? Just count the minutes til the reply comes back…

                • +1 vote

                  @CMH: Last time I checked, insurance companies didn't have the final say on whether someone has broken the road rules.

                  If OP has evidence that the crash occurred in a location where the oncoming vehicle breaking the road rules could have contributed to the collision, then OP might not be held 100% responsible for the incident.

                  If the insurance company isn't willing to budge on their view that OP is 100% at fault, OP has the option to test their argument for their compete innocence / partial guilt in court for a judge to decide.

                  •  

                    @Nomadesque: They don't have any say, but the rules on liability is clear regardless of what OP has said the other driver has done.

                    They might be up for speeding charges and crossing a solid white line. OP was still required to give way regardless.

                    Bringing it to court will be throwing away good money after bad.

                    Of course, if OP thinks differently they are entitled to bring it to court. But like I said this sort of collision happens so often, OP isn't bringing anything new to the table at all.

                    •  

                      @CMH: Sure, and that's up to OP to decide based on how serious an infraction they believe the oncoming driver is guilty of.

                      All I'm saying is that the "give way when turning right and if you have an accident while doing so it's 100% your fault" rule surely doesn't apply in every single scenario that could ever possibly play out.

                    • +2 votes

                      @CMH:

                      …the rules on liability is clear regardless of what OP has said the other driver has done.

                      Yes and the rules of “contributory negligence” clearly mean he may not be 100% liable.

                      If what OP says is accepted the other driver could be shown to have not been driving with “reasonable care”.

                      the best sort of matching case example I could find:
                      http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/sa/SADC/...

                      • Motorcycle approaches intersection with traffic lights and moves into far left bicycle lane.
                      • His vision is obscured by a bus on his right and he cant see traffic to his right at the intersection
                      • Light turns green and he zips past bus and hits a truck coming from right that had run the red light
                      • Motorcycle is deemed 30% at fault even though he had a green light.
                      • Judge felt he wasn’t riding “…defensively and with reasonable care” when he entered intersection with a green light. Lots of factors but riding illegally in bike lane helped the judge form this view.
                      •  

                        @nith265: There's a difference between that and this case, but I'm willing to concede "contributory negligence" is vague enough that anything could happen in court.

                        At best it would reduce the payout, so OP has to weigh up the risk.

                        If the amount claimed isn't too great then you might be risking a few thousand extra in costs just for the chance to save a few hundred dollars.

                        •  

                          @CMH: I’d say very similar actually, the big difference is absence of witnesses for OP

                          You said earlier:

                          It's a common sort of collision, and insurance companies deal with this all the time.

                          That’s right they do and because of “contributory negligence” every single insurance policy says “do not admit fault” because there is frequently scope to attribute blame. It’s hugely common to have both parties at fault to varying degrees. Insurance companies know this use it every day when negotiating settlements, there’s no need to involve a court to get a similar result.

                          The only angle I see for OP to save money (this is OzB) is to push as hard as he can saying the other party contributed to causing the accident.
                          eg: they broke the law by overtaking on the left, they were driving too fast for the conditions, I was stationary and they hit me, they should have anticipated a turning car given the other traffic was stopped, etc etc

                          The endless quoting of exacting roadlaw in the belief that if you broke a law then your 100% at fault on these forums is BroRoadLaw and not a reflection of how civil law is decided.

  • +1 vote

    I don't know that anyone has specifically mentioned that (in some states at least) you're allowed to drive in a bus or parking lane for 100 metres if turning left, even if entering that lane means crossing a solid white line. The sketch does not show what happens to the lane, but if the other driver was intending to leave that road within 100 metres (by turning left onto another road) then I believe that they were legally able to cross the white line to pass on the left.

    You may only cross a continuous edge line including a line that separates where vehicles park when:
    turning at an intersection
    entering or leaving a road
    Blah blah blah
    The maximum distance you may drive across an edge line to enter or leave or overtake on the left of a vehicle intending to turn right is 100 metres. http://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/the-drivers-handbook/l...

    I don't know where to find this info for NSW but I'd imagine that it's similar. You can drive in the parking area that is on the side of the road and separated by a solid white line if intending to leave the road within 100 metres. For example, you could leave the lane to drive in that parking area past other cars still in the lane in order to get into your driveway.

    Nonetheless, even if you learned of a rule that you did not know before, changed your mind and now believe that you might be in the wrong, you should not admit that you were wrong, but you should instead recount the events as they occurred. Insurance companies specifically instruct us not to admit that we are in the wrong so that the matter can be assessed on its merits.

    Also, the other driver may decide that the damage is not worth a deductible. There's a chance that the OP never hears about it again.

  •  

    Unfortunately for you, you are 100% at fault.

    Driver is allowed to overtake to the left:

    Road Rule Reg 141

    No overtaking etc. to the left of a vehicle
    (1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not overtake a vehicle to the left of the vehicle unless—

        (b)     the vehicle is turning right, or making a U-turn from the centre of the road, and is giving a right change of direction signal; or
    

    You must give way to drivers travelling straight

    Road Rule Reg 72

    (5) If the driver is turning right, the driver must give way to—

        (a)     any vehicle approaching from the right, unless a stop sign , stop line, give way sign or give way line applies to the driver of the approaching vehicle; and
    
        (b)     any oncoming vehicle that is going straight ahead or turning left at the intersection, unless—
    
              (i)     a stop sign , stop line, give way sign or give way line applies to the driver of the oncoming vehicle; or
    
              (ii)     the oncoming vehicle is turning left using a slip lane; and
    
        (c)     any pedestrian at or near the intersection who is crossing the road the driver is entering.
    
  • +1 vote

    The car turning into the driveway is at fault, even if it is a parking lane.

  • +1 vote

    dont worries op, this happen to the best of us.
    unfortunately youre at fault 100% this time.

  • -2 votes

    Your Fault
    Source: Road rules

  •  

    This is why we need automated cars as mandatory. It's because of all the moron drivers.

  • +1 vote

    The turning vehicle is at fault for failing to give way.

    More serious than this is where a bicycle is in the bike lane and the drivers wave the person turning right across without realising that a person is approaching - I've seen serious injuries as a result.

  •  

    OP any update?

  •  

    While this can be seen as polite etc from the other vehicles towards a car that may have difficulty getting over,
    its just dangerous for everyone.

    I also dislike it when cars stop to let people cross an intersection or other road area. If its not a zebra crossing, don't stop.
    It happens to us a lot when new are walking the dog with the kids. I know its nice, polite and they think they are helping, but it doesn't teach the kids anything good and its also dangerous for any car that might be behind as they would not be expecting the car in front to stop.

    for example https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/photo/british-roundabo...
    pedestrian pathway comes to an end and you need to cross to continue.

  •  
    Merged from Car accident - Received letter of demand for $1,xxx (follow up thread)

    Hi OzBargain,

    Follow up to: Car Accident - Who Is at Fault? (Turning Right into Driveway - Uninsured)

    The driver of the vehicle has sent me a letter of demand asking for $1,xxx and says that I am at fault. They claim that they are doing me a favour and that their insurance company will make me pay $3,000. They have also included a CrashZone repair estimate for the amount of $1,xxx from a local shop.

    Questions -

    1) Why did this person send me a letter instead of going through their insurance company, if I am at fault?
    2) Where is she getting the $3,000 amount from? Is she pulling this out of her backside?
    3) What steps should I take next?

    Do you reckon I should pay this amount, or what should I say to the person in response. I also don't really get how they are saying their insurance company will make me pay $3,000, if the quote she got was for low $1,xxx.

    Guidance would be appreciated from the Ozb experts.

    Thank you!!

    • +17 votes

      Something fishy here. Was the other driver meant to be driving? If I were in your shoes I would not be paying until I heard from an insurance company. I wouldn't be responding to the drivers requests. It doesn't make sense why they wouldn't simply engage their insurance.

      •  

        Thank you. Their response as to why they won't go through insurance is - takes time and rego is due next week.

        • +1 vote

          Have you checked that their rego is current, in my state you can check online with the number plate. I don’t understand what the rego being due next week would have to do with an insurance claim?

          •  

            @Username not found: Thanks didn't know that. Rego says end of June exp so they were lying about that. No idea.

            Also wtf, their rego doesn't match the car they gave an invoice for. Is the site fallible or is there something very dodgy going on

    • -3 votes

      I would consider offering half at this stage given you were the turning vehicle. At very least sum up your objective position and get negotiating. You will also get a read of whether she is prepared to go to insurance.

      Did you bother to get a quote for yours?

    • +5 votes

      It's a shakedown

    •  

      while you are uninsured, possible the guy doesnt want to pay the excess first and let his insurance trace you. But it may also mean that the insurance company told him it will be likely 50-50 case which he need to pay for excess and his premium will go up. Then he just demand you to pay for his fixes from "his machanic"(or he keeping the money not to repair his car).

      So you can either refuse or ask him to go through insurance.

      for $1k no point to use lawyer.

      Also if you want to settle by paying him half or all money he asked for, make sure that you have an agreement to take this to an end.

    • +1 vote

      I also don't really get how they are saying their insurance company will make me pay $3,000, if the quote she got was for low $1,xxx.

      Insurance companies always have hugely inflated prices for these things.

      That being said, I would wait for insurance who might deem both parties at fault (which I believe is their preference).

      •  

        yep last time someone barely scraped my honda civic and i got paid out 3k. probably would have buffed out

        I kept the money and just left the damages as it was

    • +5 votes

      The other driver doesn't have to go through their insurance company or yours.

      The other driver considers you to be at fault (correctly or not, it doesn't matter), so their first step is to send you a letter of demand. If you don't pay, the next step for them is to sue you in court. Or, they could go through their insurance company, their choice.

      Perhaps they feel that they may be found partly negligent, and will therefore have to pay their own excess. By sending a letter of demand directly to you, they'd save themselves that money (if you pay up).

      Do you have comprehensive insurance? I don't remember from your earlier post, and the thread is TL;DR now. If so, I think you might find that you are obligated to forward the letter of demand to your insurance company. Read your PDS or call your insurance company.

    •  

      You can probably negotiate a deal with the insurance company or ask for them to provide 3 quotes and pay for the lowest.

    • +2 votes

      If they go through insurance, payment amounts can be negotiable.
      I was once asked to pay by insurance after an accident that ended up not being covered by my own (long story). I thought the damage basically a scratch, but the quote seemed high. I disputed, they asked how much I thought was reasonable, and ended up paying much less.
      You have a quote that says it's only $1xxx. You can use that to negotiate. Make the insurer explain to you why they would charge you 3x the price etc

    • +3 votes

      as with your other topic
      get off ozbargain
      talk to an lawyer, solicitor, someone with legal experience, ur insurer

    • -2 votes

      I assume you've referred this matter to your insurance company for their advice and assistance?

    • +1 vote

      The panel beater is sending you a letter of demand so it goes through them and they get a larger slice of the pie vs going through insurance

    • +2 votes

      get them to sign something saying that IF you pay this amount, you are not liable for any other charges… and then get it independently witnessed, and give multiple copies

    • +1 vote

      What is a CrashZone quote? Is that like a site that repairers can bid on. I would be asking for a proper full written quote, with an accompanying quotation number, by their chosen repairer and an accompanying acknolwedgement by the owner that this is the full cost of repairs and the extent of your liability. I would then arrange to pay the repairer directly in advance, against the quotation number previously provided. Once you pay them that should be the last you hear of it.

      Ignore the fluff about "I'm doing you a favour" that is just unprofessional. Stick to the facts at hand.

      •  

        CrashZone is a SaaS website that repairers use to quote, manage jobs, etc. As well as standard rates/times for quotes that insurers pay.

        A lot of repairers use it to quote, and a lot of insurers use it to receive and compare quotes as well.

    •  

      Was the letter delivered via registered postage?
      If not, you never got a letter.

      Seriously though, something sounds fishy. Is the other party "self-insured"? I would contact your insurance company and get them to sort it out for you. Less hassles in the long run that way.

    • +4 votes

      Might be trying to get you to admit in writing that it was your fault.

    •  

      OP, you are responsible for the crash. It's up to you if you want to fight the demand or pay it.

    •  

      Never pay them cash, ask for the invoice for the repair if you are prepared to pay for the damages, then pay the repairer directly. Sometimes its a scam where they split the money with the repairer, as it probably is in this case. You can also insist on more quotes from other repairers as comparison.

      Or you can just ignore it, and wait for their insurance company to contact you.

    •  

      My guess is that the local mechanic told her that they can fix it for $1200 but that if she goes to the official reps they may charge up to $3k, which she may well be able to cover using insurance. She may be trying to save time and hassle if you are indeed at fault!

      But the first comment of this thread is also very valid.

  •  

    Where is she getting the $3,000 amount from? Is she pulling this out of her backside?

    because:

    • The insurer will remain liable for the repairs for years to come so they will wanted it fixed properly (not just cheapest)
    • You’re liable to pay for the insurance assessor
    • You’re liable to pay for a hire car

    I’ve commented earlier saying that I think you may have a reasonable case for showing that you would both be found partially liable and costs would be apportioned. But even so you are going to be much better off negotiating directly with her than dealing with her insurance company. To quote @tshow earlier

    No proof, no insurance, bend over.

    The only card you’d hold is that she would need to pay her excess to make a claim. The excess would probably be a fair chunk of the $1000 plus perhaps increased premiums later on so she won’t want to do it either.

    No way you're getting out of this without paying something, if I was you I’d offer maybe $700 to settle but I'd easy take the $1k also if pushed.

    •  

      What if you also take into account that my car was damaged? I don't think she will end up claiming insurance, as excess looks to be $3000+ if she was partially at fault. If both of us are liable wouldn't the best option to be for both of us to fix our own cars?

      •  

        Simplified theoretical example:

        Her loss: $2000
        Your loss: $1000

        A court decides that she is 20% negligent and you are 80% negligent

        • You pay her $1600 ($2000 x 80%)
        • She pays you $200 ($1000 x 20%)
        • Net cost to you $1400.

        Adjust the figures to what you feel to be correct. You can negotiate what ever kind of settlement you want but the above is what you could base it on

        While I think she could be considered partially negligent you have no witnesses to argue this strongly and if things got ugly no insurer to back you up

        excess looks to be $3000+

        never heard of excess that high but I wouldn't know

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