On 16th August 2007 my bike, a Harley-Davidson 883 Roadster, was parked on a mate’s drive. While it was there, a driver reversed onto my mate’s private drive, and knocked the bike over. Me and the two other people I was with at the time looked out of the window and saw this driver hit the bike.
She started to drive away, but I managed to catch up with her. She seemed pretty broken up and was crying and admitted fault straight away, so I didn’t want to press matters any further or report her to the police.
I have now sent her an estimate for the £1,200 to repair the bike and she is ignoring me. Her boyfriend is answering her mobile, claiming that he knows the accident wasn’t her fault and they have evidence to prove this. I wasn’t injured, and my bike is fully comprehensive, but I don’t want to let her get away with this. What should I do?
This lady has given every indication of not being insured. Because you have fully comprehensive insurance, the Motor Insurers Bureau (who indemnify uninsured drivers) will not payout.
You could lose your no claims bonus unless you sue this woman on behalf of your insurance company for your outlay. When she repays you the money, you pass it on to your insurers, and you get your no claims bonus back. If she is insured (we can find out through a MIDIS database), then send the claim directly to her own insurers. You may well need to sue both this woman and her insurers (suing the insurers is important, because they will have to payout). You need form Nl, which is also a Claim Form Part Z.
You should name the insurers as indemnifiers, then send the form to the last known address of the driver, and her insurance company. Chances are that the insurance company will pay you when they get the summons. If they don’t, your awkward driver will find a Default Judgement entered against her, unless she is prepared to go to court and perjure herself. Then she could be looking at a custodial sentence.
Even if she doesn’t, I have no doubt that you will win at trial. She will then be liable for the £1,200 of damages, as well as a claim for loss of use, at £75 per week for every week that your bike is off the road, your court and issue fees (around £80) and any other court fees you have had to pay on the way through. Because you are a serving soldier, you won’t have lost any wages, but your independent witnesses may have, and she’ll be liable to them. If she still doesn’t pay, then you have various enforcement remedies. We don’t tend to enforce judgements for a while, but let people forget about them. Then we set about enforcing it about two or three years after the judgement is obtained, giving us a full six years.
The upshot of it all is that this lady will have the debt hanging over her for nine years. If she owns her own house, or if she is in work, it’s actually quite straightforward to enforce the debt If she wants to do things the hard way, then that’s a matter for her. We can all play at that game.
Good luck, and if you want any help, you know where to get hold of me by email.
Issue Number December 2007