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Advice for a car accident to foreign driver (Read 14273 times)

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Advice for a car accident to foreign driver
Mar 17th, 2007 at 10:06pm
I am writing to you with regard to a serious incident that occured 1 month ago on the highway near Fort William.
     I am from Greece. A month ago, I took vacations in Scotland. I rent a car from a car-rental company and had an excursion together with my girlfriend. While on our way to Glasgow (on our way home) just before Fort William we had a car accident. I drove for some yards at the wrong side of the road (right hand side). That's because I was confused as I am used to driving on the right hand side of the road as it is normal for Greece. As a result my car collided with another car that was moving at the right side of the road. Hopefully there were just minor injuries to people involved. Then I pled guilty to the court for careless driving. I was admonished but had no penalty points as well as no financial penalty. As far as the car rental company is concerned when I first agreed to rent the car I also agreed paying extra 10 pounds per day as an additional fee for insurance purposes. I got in contact with the car rental company and they said that I am not covered by the contract I had signed as far as the insurance is concerned. They said I violated the contract's terms and that I had to pay for all the damage caused to the rental car, to the other car involved as well as any other claims if any. I had accepted the Damage Waiver as well as the Excess Protection. I have read the contract thoroughly and there is no term which I had violated. So I wonder if  they have a right to make such a claim. Unfortunatelly I am not aware of the law concerning car accidents or car rental policies,insurance companies policies.
     I have been accussed for careless driving and I pled guilty. The car rental company says that because of this I breached the term of the contract that says that one can breach the contract for
"(use of the vehicle) for any illegal purposes"
Is it true? I mean by saying "for any illegal purpose" one means to use the rent vehicle having a purpose to do a robbery or something. Do you know is it the same? careless driving is "any illegal purpose"?
In addition I would appreciate it if you could give me an advice concerning:
Who can I contact to help me with this problem?
Can you suggest to me any Scottish solicitor or any specialist that can assure me whether I have or haven't violated the contract.
Thank you in advance,
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Re: Advice for a car accident to foreign driver
Reply #1 - Mar 19th, 2007 at 12:59pm

Sounds like a patchy line of argument. To my mind use of a vehicle for an illegal purpose is certainly not the same as breaking the law whilst using a vehicle. Of course, whilst it would be difficult to commit a s.3 offence without a vehicle, that does not mean to say that the vehicle is being used for that purpose. One could fairly say that the vehicle was being used for another purpose, and that the breach of s.3 of the Road Traffic Act was incidental.

Two Questions:

1: Have you actually made any payments? I would of course advise you not to do so.
2: Are you resident in the UK? I note your posting name is greekStudent - are you attending university in Scotland? This would not affect matters of liability, but from a practical perspective may deter the company involved from raising an action against you if you don't live here.

If I were in your position I wouldn't take any action until I had been served with something more offical from the company, or their agents, such as a writ for damages (depending on the values involved). If however, you wish to take legal advice sooner, the best thing would be to contact a Solicitor and ask them to review the contract.

In this respect, any half decent firm who deal with civil litigation should be able to assist, and the best thing to do would be to look at the yellow pages/business directory for wherever it is that you live (if in Scotland).
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Re: Advice for a car accident to foreign driver
Reply #2 - May 29th, 2007 at 10:39am
This car company is at it. If you hired car to e.g. commit a bank robbery that would be using the car for an illegal purpose. To have an accident is not an illegal use of the car even though you were guilty of a crime - careless driving. I suspect that the company omitted to arrange the insurance cover and may be faced with having to pay to repair the car. Ask them for details of the insurers, the claim number and a copy of any correspondence between them and the insurance company. I think you will get no reply to that request and that is the last you will hear. You could also tell them that you will publcisie your story in the UK press and they will be afraid of the bad publicity. It wasn't a company who also provide cheap air travel too by any chance?
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