Trevor Gain believes Outsurance has an obligation to fix his car even though he has no insurance.
The Steenberg man was involved in a crash with an Outsurance client in November last year, on the corner of Fisherman’s Walk and Avocet Road. Mr Gain told Outsurance that their client, who apparently didn’t see him, drove into him after stopping at a stop street.
Mr Gain was travelling towards Pelican Park High along Fisherman’s Walk and he had right of way. The client wanted to get into Fisherman’s Walk from the stop street in Avocet Road where he was stationary.
“When I saw the nose of his vehicle, I decreased my speed to about 55km/h ,” Mr Gain told Outsurance in his accident report.
“Despite not indicating, it was apparent to me that he intended to turn right. The car ahead of me had passed Avocet Road and I was going to do so as well but at the last moment your client tried to join my lane and it was then that the collision occurred.
“When the police failed to arrive we moved the two vehicles ourselves. Your client said Outsurance would cover the costs of towing the vehicle to a panel shop, so I agreed as I had no funds to pay for it.”
Mr Gain called Outsurance to confirm they would pay the towing cost, but the agent told him that it was not always the case. The car was towed to his house and Mr Gain had to find R1 850 before the tow truck driver would release it.
Meanwhile, Mr Gain has visited several panel beaters and they told him, judging by the pictures he showed, his car is a write-off.
“I know that’s not so. The Conquest can be repaired and second-hand parts are plentiful. I would have to pay for quotations and call-out fees for them to assess the vehicle but I don’t have the money for that,” he said and asked Outsurance to send their own assessor.
“Your client has caused me severe financial loss and it is my right to receive compensation. I’ve been inconvenienced for something that wasn’t my fault.”
Outsurance told Mr Gain they are applying the 20%/80% rule.
Which means that every road user has a duty of care. “The principles applied in these matters clearly indicate that the court, regardless whether a person has right of way, places a responsibility on all road users to be vigilant. In other words a person travelling on a public road must at all-time keep a proper lookout and travel at a reasonable speed under the circumstance.
“The onus of proof is on a balance of probabilities. Therefore a person needs to prove the other party’s negligent action on a balance of probabilities. In other words ‘is it probable that the person acted as alleged?’”Outsurance said.
“We hold you partially responsible for the accident, as you should have kept a proper look out. We believe that had you been driving at a reasonable speed under the circumstances, you could have been able to take evasive action to avoid this incident. We thus hold you 20% liable for the collision.”
The way Outsurance explained the calculations muddied the waters a bit. But the damage to their client’s car was considerably more than the value of Mr Gain’s car. And each person must pay his own costs.
Spokesperson for Outsurance, Natasha Kawulesar said: “We believe the decision taken is the correct one. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and be able to take preventive measures to avoid collisions. For that reason we believe that both parties carry a portion of blame. We agree that our client was the more liable party and attributed 80% of the blame for the accident on him and 20% on Mr Gain. Due to the damages of our client’s car being more than the value of Mr Gain’s car (his car was determined to be uneconomical to repair), a 80/20% apportionment of damages results in Mr Gain owning us money.
“We are not claiming any money from him thus the decision for each party to carry his own costs,” she said.
But Mr Gain is not happy.
“Outsurance has an obligation to fix my car as their client pays them a premium to indemnify himself in the case of an accident. The fact that I cannot afford insurance is irrelevant to the matter.
“Our roads are filled with vehicle owners who cannot afford to insure it. This does not okay incidents caused by insured owners. Driving a certified roadworthy vehicle without insurance is not illegal.
“My vehicle was in perfect condition, in daily use, and my mode of transport for my family’s transportation needs. Their client has admitted causing the accident. Outsurance is bullying an ordinary citizen who cannot afford vehicle insurance,” said Mr Gain, who added he will seek alternative legal assistance and “make citizens in my position aware of Outsurance’s attitude”.
Unless Mr Gain has an uncle in the legal business, lawyer’s fees will probably cost him more than the repairs to his car.