It appears to be a commonly-held belief that if another driver reversed into the vehicle that you are driving, the insurance companies will automatically assume that you drove into the back of the car in front and will hold you liable for the accident.
However this is not the case for a number of reasons.
Firstly, insurance companies don’t usually make such general assumptions and will examine the versions of events given by the drivers and any witnesses before deciding which version to accept.
In the vast majority of cases, the driver who reverses into another vehicle will tell the truth to their insurers who will then compensate the driver and any passengers who were injured in that vehicle.
If there is a dispute as to what happened, the decision of the insurance companies, or in some cases a Court, will be determined by the strength of the evidence supporting the different versions. The evidence of independent witnesses is very important in these cases.
It could even be that an expert engineer could prove from the nature of the damage to the vehicles that the opponent had reversed into our client’s vehicle.
In one of my own cases a few years ago, a couple and their children were driving on a residential street in Sheffield when the driver of a commercial vehicle, for no good reason, reversed at speed into the family car. Fortunately the father had the presence of mind to go and obtain contact details from two bystanders who agreed to be witnesses for him and their evidence persuaded the other driver’s insurers to pay compensation to all the family members who were injured.
In a more recent case, one of our clients was stationary in his vehicle in standing traffic on the uphill section of a motorway. He was shocked when he saw that the car in front of him started to roll backwards towards him. It gathered speed and hit him with some force. He thought the driver must have passed out, but when he went to check on her health, she looked at him and drove off, refusing to exchange details. Luckily for him, another motorist gave him their mobile number and later provided us with a statement which helped our client win his case.
Other evidence is also helpful. One of my clients was accused of rolling backwards into a vehicle, but had persuasive evidence to refute the allegation in that she was driving an automatic car that could not roll backwards spontaneously and because it was on a slope facing downhill.
So remember if another driver reverses into your car, don’t just exchange details with them, but look for witnesses who will be able to help you and take plenty of photographs of the scene and the damage to both vehicles.
If you need any further advice please contact a member of our experienced team on 0114 218 4000, email Jonathan.Stittle@tayloremmet.co.uk or complete this form.