dellautos

Liability for uninsured mechanic

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Hi all,

I am a part time dealer, just a few cars a year to keep me busy when my other work is quiet. I enjoy doing up cars that need TLC and selling them on.

I have a mechanic that does some work for me now and again, he works and Lookers Jaguar Amersham full time and does private work for me and some other friends and family, usual stuff on the side. He's been working on a project car for me for some time now and had it at the Lookers garage , when he's had time after work or evenings and weekends he does a bit of work on the car.

I get a phone call from Tradewise ( my insurers) telling me my car has been involved in an accident and driver is at fault. They inform me that if he isn't insured, i will be at fault and personally liable for the claim amount! The sad thing is he told me nothing of using the car for personal use, so i had no idea he was driving the car, which I would have denied him also as my insruance cant cover him because of his age (U25). The car had no MOT at the time of accident. The accident took place whilst he was driving back from a work based training course in Herreford, so during normal working hours. After I got the phone call from Tradewise i tried to contact him to get him to  explain what had happened. He ignored me for e a while and then i caught up with him at Lookers and quizzed him,  at this point he told me  my car was insured through work and not to worry about the claim. He'd also put my car into a friends bodyshop to repair the damage caused on my car by the accident ( some minor rear quarter work) at his expense. So, even though i was angry at the thought he'd driven the car 200 odd miles without asking me, at least it was covered and I wasn't financially out of pocket.

Weeks go by and I get suspicious as I've heard nothing and cant get hold of him. So i call his garage and ask for insurance details to pass on to Tradewise. Turns out he was lying, and they have no knowledge and my car wasn't insured by them. according to Tradewise I am now liable for the claim - repair damage to the car that was hit and apparently 2 injury claims for the driver and passenger - assuming whiplash.

Is this fair I am liable considering had no knowledge? It could cost my £0000's including losing my no claims bonus, cost of repair and medical claim. What would you do? Any advice highly appreciated.

Thanks
Ben

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10 minutes ago, Blenheim Car Sales said:

such are the pitfalls of you earning some  undeclared money and your mechanic doing  some undeclared work also, good luck

I would agree if that were the case. I'm self employed and declare everything, pay any taxes due. As for the mechanic I receive invoices, the rest is up to him as he's not an employee. thanks for your useful feedback :rolleyes:

18 minutes ago, David Horgan said:

Thats not good .

How did the car get to Lookers ? 

What sort of motor was it ? 

I drove it there and dropped it off. They even have a copy of the V5, as that's what he asked for so he could register it with the garage I believe, tbh I don't know much about how a garage operates, I've just been a car fanatic ( and an engineer in the past) so went along with what he asked for and said. I trusted him basically. The car is an Audi S3 mk1 i was bring back to standard after some bad modifications.

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5 minutes ago, tradex said:

Unfortunately this could get worse for the OP.

Plod may take the line that you have allowed an uninsured driver use of your car, so you could be prosecuted for this.

With no MOT too, lets hope it was taxed or it's quite likely to get even more painful (excuse the pun) due to personal injury being involved so the powers that be will be checking all and sundry. 

Only way I can see you progressing this is a civil claim against the 'mechanic' after everything has been paid out (two injured parties means big money). Should you choose this path this would mean airing an amount of dirty washing so to speak in court.

Just thinking out loud. I wonder if the guy has/had deprived you of use of the car, meaning stolen.....but then that could fall down as you willingly gave him permission for use, tough one. 

Your car has rear end damage, I'm guessing your mechanic reversed into the third party, just curious? 

AIl I know is Police were at the scene of the accident.  I got from him that he was overtaking another car, legally - i.e. in an overtaking zone, an oncoming car 'appeared' and he swerved in, hit the front of the car he was overtaking and that's it. Not much damage done to either car, apparently. Again I've not seen either car nor had any detailed reports yet.

Luckily it was taxed, MOT was 2 weeks out or thereabouts. I thought civil claim, but the likelihood of getting anything back from him is minimal, I have no issue with any dirty washing, nothing to hide or at least I don't think I have, I've tried to follow any regs and be an honest trader.

He has deprived me use, giving me excuses as to why it wasn't ready yet, other bits needed doing etc, so I ordered more parts, dropped them off to him thinking he was just doing the work and I wasn't in rush.

7 minutes ago, tradex said:

FFS you can't be this naive, surely. :rolleyes: I thought you meant you thought your mechanic had his own insurance. 

Lookers won't put just any car on cover, afterall they haven't booked it in for any work etc so why would their insurance cover it. 

In short, ya buggered with potentially a huge claim on your insurance history and, unless he has any money/means it probably ain't worth chasing. 

Sadly i can be this naive apparently. I trusted the guy as I see him regular ( we play cricket together) and in all fairness he's been good for any work in the past. He does have private car insurance though, so wandering if that would make any difference, would he be covered or would the claim be under his own insurance policy?

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13 minutes ago, tradex said:

No, I meant 'deprived' in a legal sense, I obviously didn't put that across very well:lol:

In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

I guess not as he has the keys, i gave him permission to work on the car, but that's it, he was under strict instructions not to drive it, but legally Im not sure that counts, or certainly my insurance company seem to think as he has the keys he has permission to use the car regardless.

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18 minutes ago, dellautos said:

overtaking another car, legally , an oncoming car 'appeared' 

Not legally then 

19 minutes ago, dellautos said:

( we play cricket together) 

I reckon it will be a while until he comes to see you while you're holding a bat

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16 minutes ago, tradex said:

:lol:

NB I wonder if Lookers would see this as gross misconduct? 

No idea, probably.

16 minutes ago, tradex said:

Not legally then 

I reckon it will be a while until he comes to see you while you're holding a bat

You haven't see me bat... no.11! :blink: Swing and a miss.. I'm much more lethal with a ball.

17 minutes ago, Mark101 said:

overtaking another car, legally , an oncoming car 'appeared' 

Well I'm only going on what I've been told, it wasn't a no overtaking part of the road... apparently and the car being overtaken accelerated as son as they realised they were being overtaken... again apparently.

Edited by dellautos

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If the guy has the keys it doesn't mean he can drive it on the public highway . If you have keys at home for a car and a son takes the car out , he can be prosecuted for taking the car without permission . 

He was fixing it on private premises , Now he also has his own insurance too so there would be your saviour i would think . If you had the car insured and hes driving it it may well be a claim against you then his insurance company to  reimburse your loss . Worth a look . 

I would report him to the police for driving your car without your permission and have him summoned for theft of a motor vehicle . The keys being at Lookers makes no difference , theres hundreds of keys at Lookers . You drove the car to lookers so you didn't give him permission there did you . 

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Not your problem it's the mechanics and your insurance. You didn't authorise him to drive the vehicle so technically it was TWOC. You would never have give him permissions as your insurance doesn't cover him. The vehicle needs to have insurance cover, either trade or private, to be available to drive on public roads ie. Not SORN'ed. You had this. Your insurance covers your VEHICLE regardless if it's stolen, TWOC'd, drunk driven etc. You need to report the TWOC to police and tell your insurance they cover the liability.

 

This is why you have insurance, to cover the liability of the vehicle..

One more thought, assuming this is going to run into 10,000's. If your not asset rich, there's probably not much can come of it financially in the long run. Same goes for the mechanic. One things for sure, it would be some friendship that survived this.

Good luck.

Edited by DigitalAutos

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52 minutes ago, dellautos said:

You haven't see me bat... no.11! :blink: Swing and a miss.. I'm much more lethal with a ball.

Give him the bat then :lol:

I think there are three options.

1. See a Lawyer

2. Put the claim through as though he was on your insurance.

3. Pay for the claim out of your own pocket?

 

Id be going for number 2 and get him to work it off for the rest of his life (With is own insurance)

 

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Twoc i would certainly try that at least contact the police he never had permission to drive it only to repair it and its good for your case that you delivered it to him . 

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OK managed to get a response out of him just now finally. and found out the following:

1. He only took the car as his car wasn't working, asked his manger if he could get insured on company insurance through coopers, he said yes.so he drove it. He still didn't ask me for permission, and as the MOT was lapsed, so on that basis I would have said no for obvious reasons. I'm assuming his manager were unaware the MOT had lapsed.

2. His personal insurance doesn't cover him on other cars.

 

31 minutes ago, jason doyle motor sales said:

 

see a lawyer quick (one who deals in motor law not quickie divorces)

 

Agreed. I've called Gordon LLP, waiting for a call back to discuss.

 

33 minutes ago, David Horgan said:

If the guy has the keys it doesn't mean he can drive it on the public highway . If you have keys at home for a car and a son takes the car out , he can be prosecuted for taking the car without permission . 

He was fixing it on private premises , Now he also has his own insurance too so there would be your saviour i would think . If you had the car insured and hes driving it it may well be a claim against you then his insurance company to  reimburse your loss . Worth a look . 

I would report him to the police for driving your car without your permission and have him summoned for theft of a motor vehicle . The keys being at Lookers makes no difference , theres hundreds of keys at Lookers . You drove the car to lookers so you didn't give him permission there did you . 

His insurance doesn't cover him driving the car, so i guess that's off the table now. I don't see much option other than informing the police now really, it depends what response i get back from the lawyers really.

I'm also waiting for TWise to get back to me with a current state of claim as they've gone quiet in the last few days.

29 minutes ago, DigitalAutos said:

Not your problem it's the mechanics and your insurance. You didn't authorise him to drive the vehicle so technically it was TWOC. You would never have give him permissions as your insurance doesn't cover him. The vehicle needs to have insurance cover, either trade or private, to be available to drive on public roads ie. Not SORN'ed. You had this. Your insurance covers your VEHICLE regardless if it's stolen, TWOC'd, drunk driven etc. You need to report the TWOC to police and tell your insurance they cover the liability.

 

This is why you have insurance, to cover the liability of the vehicle..

I agree. I'll wait for the lawyers to get back to me and see what the best course of action is, but looks like a mess at the moment and i need some legal clarity before I involve police further.

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No major garage would cover a side job. So he isn't insured by anyone except you. If you declare everything, and declare your VAT status correctly, let it go to a court if necessary, sounds like you have nothing to hide, but he has plenty. He has driven it without your consent, with no insurance cover, and recklessly. An S3 overtaking something that speeds up? I wouldnt mind betting he was racing his mate.

Lesson to learn, find a new mechanic.

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So if he was insured under your policy. Your insurers pay out.

Or

If he wasn't insured on your policy it's his insurer who pays out.  If he had no insurance then he is personally liable.

I fail to see how the OP is personally liable. Or I am I missing something?

The only way Lookers might have agreed to insure it was as he was going on a work course. 

3 hours ago, dellautos said:

The accident took place whilst he was driving back from a work based training course

Suprised he hasn't got third party liability to drive any car not belonging to him, assuming he has a insurance policy in his name.

Edited by David Ayers

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15 minutes ago, David Ayers said:

Suprised he hasn't got third party liability to drive any car not belonging to him, assuming he has a insurance policy in his name.

Quite common to have that benefit removed on a U25 policy or if he is 3rd party only.

Edited by Mark101

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32 minutes ago, dellautos said:

1. He only took the car as his car wasn't working, asked his manger if he could get insured on company insurance through coopers, he said yes.so he drove it. He still didn't ask me for permission, and as the MOT was lapsed, so on that basis I would have said no for obvious reasons. I'm assuming his manager were unaware the MOT had lapsed.

So it was covered by Lookers ?

 

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2 hours ago, tradex said:

Before anyone starts putting the boot in here, when was the last time you checked your regular mechanic/garages insurance policy?

 

Every single time i use someone knew which is quite rare these days for such reasons as the op is now going through.

Belt and braces is in our blood, another issue of not being on the ball a friend of mine employed a brick layer the brickie dropped a trowel from the scaffholding and hit someone below very nasty accident turns out the bricklayer used a false utr number to obtain employment now the main contractor is getting it in the neck hse and insurance company all over him brickie gone to ground. 

Acts of god as the insurance companies like to call them happen all the time.

 

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33 minutes ago, L-P said:

So it was covered by Lookers ?

 

Well what I've been informed by the mechanic is he was under the impression he was insured. It was a course they put him on and his car wasn't drive-able at the time, so he was looking for alternative transport to get there. Lookers couldn't give him a car so he said he could use mine (without asking me) and his manager agreed and said it was covered, so he took it and went on the course. If it's true fair enough, but still doesn't excuse not asking for permission or checking for a valid MOT first.

 

1 hour ago, MattR said:

No major garage would cover a side job. So he isn't insured by anyone except you. If you declare everything, and declare your VAT status correctly, let it go to a court if necessary, sounds like you have nothing to hide, but he has plenty. He has driven it without your consent, with no insurance cover, and recklessly. An S3 overtaking something that speeds up? I wouldnt mind betting he was racing his mate.

Lesson to learn, find a new mechanic.

Nothing to do with the Job or work itself, its more the fact he was using the car for work purposes and given verbal instruction from his boss that he was insured to drive my vehicle to the training centre. if you're boss had said it was covered and ok, what would you have done next? Would you make the assumption he was lying and require proof or take his word for it and be on your way.

I don't have anything to hide, not VAT registered not enough turnover, it's a part time role. I guess i'm more of an enthusiast than a trader, but i wanted to be legit and disclose any profits and pay any tax due as well as taking out the right insurance, trade plates etc. It also helped with buying a house with the extra income.

I will be looking for another mechanic!

 

37 minutes ago, justina3 said:

Every single time i use someone knew which is quite rare these days for such reasons as the op is now going through.

Belt and braces is in our blood, another issue of not being on the ball a friend of mine employed a brick layer the brickie dropped a trowel from the scaffholding and hit someone below very nasty accident turns out the bricklayer used a false utr number to obtain employment now the main contractor is getting it in the neck hse and insurance company all over him brickie gone to ground. 

Acts of god as the insurance companies like to call them happen all the time.

 

I should have been more diligent i agree and will learn from this in future. Either way as above, there's always an element of trust as documents can be easily forged, for a small or part time business as a sole trader some things can get overlooked or taken for granted. It's a learning process, the trick here for me is to learn, not forget  so as not to repeat.

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I too can't see how it can possibly be your problem (except he may be uninsured and cost you) - I mean as in you did not give him permission (implied or otherwise) to drive it. It surely must be a taking vehicle without consent deal as mentioned.

Anyway, what do I know.  Would be interesting to hear @Tangovictor32 's take.  HIm being an ex-copper and all.

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1 hour ago, dellautos said:

Well what I've been informed by the mechanic is he was under the impression he was insured. It was a course they put him on and his car wasn't drive-able at the time, so he was looking for alternative transport to get there. Lookers couldn't give him a car so he said he could use mine (without asking me) and his manager agreed and said it was covered, so he took it and went on the course. If it's true fair enough, but still doesn't excuse not asking for permission or checking for a valid MOT first.

Agreed about lack of permission, but you need to check if Lookers did indeed insure it through Cooper Solutions. There will be a record on their system. Not sure where that leaves you if no permission given and no MOT ?

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If no other insurance, lookers or mechanics, want to bother covering the vehicle (why would they..) it falls back to your trade policy. This is the insurance for that vehicle to be on the road and covers any events it finds itself in. Your trade policy have to cover it regardless to what they say or where the blame lies. That's who the 3rd party claimants will chase it from.

Even if your cars stolen, chased and crashes into another car, damaging police cars etc..To add insult to injury, they all claim from your insurance..

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