Find out how your motor insurer can invalidate your insurance policy, following a rear end collision or other road accident – for having tyres with tread below the legal limit; discover how you can still claim compensation for personal injury and vehicle damage despite having an invalid insurance policy.
Rear End Collision Whiplash Claim Question
I was waiting at a set of traffic lights with my wife as a front seat passenger. We stopped first at the lights, after half a minute or so we heard the screeching of brakes behind us, the noise of it colliding with the rear of our car and our car was thrown forward through the lights with great force.
I was in shock and after a minute I got out of the car to see another car behind us crushed at the front. The driver was a lady who was visibly in shock and apologized for her driving error, indicating that she could not stop in time to avoid a rear end collision.
We exchanged details and as we were doing so a passerby came over and gave me his details explaining that he had seen the accident and had called an ambulance as the crash looked quite bad.
Both the police and ambulance attended at the scene – we gave our details and my wife and I were taken to hospital. Our vehicles could not be moved due to the extent of the damage, so they were towed away.
I was diagnosed at hospital with severe whiplash – by this time I was suffering headaches, shoulder and neck pain and had odd tingling sensations in my fingers.
My wife also had neck pain, but far worse was her lower back. An x-ray was taken and she was told that there was a crack to her vertebra in her lumbar spine.
After we left hospital I called my motor insurer to notify them of the accident. They sent an engineer to inspect our vehicle and after a few days reported that as our tyres were below the legal limit our motor insurance was to be invalidated and so they not pay for the repair to our vehicle.
Is there anything we can do to claim back the damage to our vehicle and to compensate us for our injuries?
Rear End Collision Whiplash Claim Solicitor Response
I will answer your question in two stages – looking firstly at your insurers ability to invalidate your policy and secondly whether you are entitled to make a rear end collision claim for your vehicle damage and personal injury, whether or not the policy is invalidated.
1. Can your motor insurer invalidate your policy?
Motor insurance companies are notorious for finding reasons to invalidate an insurance policy and not honour a claim.
Whether they are entitled to invalidate your policy for worn tyres will depend on the wording of your own motor insurance policy (typically included in the small print). Your motor insurer will invariably require your car to be roadworthy for the insurance policy to be valid.
Tyres will undoubtedly affect the roadworthiness and performance of your car, including its ability to stop. Your insurer will argue that incorrect tyre sizes, incorrectly fitted tyres, illegal damaged tyres or those below the legal tread limit – can all make your car unroadworthy and therefore an insurance policy should be invalidated.
Your motor insurers decision can be disputed (especially if your tyres were just below the limit and did not have a bearing on the accident event) using the complaints procedure as set out in your motor insurance policy.
If the dispute is not resolved – your complaint can escalate to an independent body (the financial ombudsman) who will decide whether the motor insurer should be allowed, in your specific case, to invalidate your policy.
2. Can you claim compensation for vehicle damage and personal injury following a rear end collision even if your motor insurance is invalidated?
It is clear from the accident circumstances – that the driver who hit you from behind was legally at fault. There was an independent witness and the lady driver who caused the accident also seemed to accept responsibility.
The police attended the scene and, knowing that you suffered injury, should have produced a police report setting out the accident scene, skid marks and witness evidence.
To see a full article on how to prove legal liability in a rear end collision or other road accident (using a motorcycle accident as an example) – click motorcycle accident claim.
You should therefore be able to claim for compensation against the vehicle driver at fault and her motor insurer.
What does your rear end collision claim for compensation include?
Your compensation claim following a rear end collision would primarily be in two parts:
1. General Damages / Pain And Suffering
Both you and your wife suffered personal injury, which was diagnosed at hospital immediately following your accident. At present this seems to be a whiplash neck injury and lower back vertebra injury.
Many other symptoms might present themselves over the next coming days and weeks, so it is important to keep a daily diary of your symptoms and report any continuing or new symptoms to your doctors.
When making a claim – both you and your wife will be sent to an independent medical expert who will set out your injuries in a medico legal report. This report will include a prognosis as to how long any ongoing symptoms might last and whether there will be any permanent disability.
This medico legal report will form evidence as to your pain and suffering, which a solicitor acting on your behalf can use to determine how much compensation you can recover for pain and suffering. This loss is also known as general damages.
2. Special Damages / Financial Loss And Expenses
In addition to the pain and suffering you are entitled to claim special damages – these damages relate exclusively to you and your wife and include: the cost of repair or write-off value of your vehicle (whichever is the lower); loss of use of vehicle or hire car charges; lost income, medical expenses, care and assistance in home, etc.
To see my article giving a full description of the financial loss and expenses you can claim in a rear end collision – click car accident claim.
Rear End Collision Whiplash Claim Solicitor Free Telephone & Online Help
If you decide that you wish to proceed with a rear end collision compensation claim or wish to discuss your options with a specialist solicitor free of charge – click whiplash claim solicitor to access our online legal and telephone legal help options.