Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Women drivers often need 'backative'

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM



Cedric E. Stephens, Contributor


Question: In March 2009, my 1995 Nissan Sunny car was hit by a Leyland truck. The truck is owned by L.P., who lives abroad, and was driven by S.B. The third-party insurers have denied liability. The driver's licence was issued only three months before the accident. The policy requires him to have had a licence for not less than three years. I contacted the owner's son. With a 'take it or leave it attitude', he told me that he was willing to stand half the cost of repairs. My vehicle was struck by his vehicle in the right rear door and pushed against the median, which resulted in damage to the left side of the front bumper. The accident occurred beside the zinc factory near to the bridge turning on to the Portmore Highway. My car was in the left lane and the truck was in the right. Both vehicles were headed in the same direction. How do I get redress?

- deputii@yahoo.com

Answer: My theory is that your gender is part of the problem. The owner's son falls in a group of men who feel that it is okay to victimise women. As I wrote two years ago, "If you were male, were six feet four inches tall, weighed 250 pounds, looked like a body builder and used four-letter words very freely," the chances are that he would have been polite. Because you are a victim and a woman to boot - without 'backative' - you deserve a handout, not respect.

The third-party's insurer's refusal to pay your claim seems, on the face of it, to be correct. Your action to seek redress directly from the truck owner's son was, therefore, the right thing to do. The other good thing is that the third party is not a 'man of straw.' He and/or his son own and operate a business. They have assets and, therefore, can buy you several new cars. Since their driver caused the collision, they are legally liable to compensate you. The big question is how, and by what method?

LEGAL ROUTE

You need 'backative' to get the truck owner's son to increase his offer. This can be done by using the services of a claims professional or an attorney. These options are likely to be quicker and more effective than using the courts to sue the owner/driver. Some claims specialists work in conjunction with a legal firm.

This type of arrangement is often more cost effective than going directly to a lawyer, since the latter often demands a hefty upfront fee (called a retainer) before they start working. Claims professional, on the other hand, charge less than attorneys and, if they are good at their work, know how to 'squeeze' money out of persons like the truck owner's son without breaking any laws.

Check the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory to find one, or ask your insurers to recommend one. If this approach does not work, a letter from an attorney may do the trick.

BROKER ERROR

The second issue concerns a calculation error your insurance brokers made. The question is, are you liable to pay extra premium in January 2010 for an error that was made in August 2009 after you paid the premium in September 2009? Frankly, I believe that brokers should pay for their own mistakes. It is silly and not good business to have asked you to pay an additional sum nearly four months after you paid what was represented to you at the time as the correct premium.

Tell the brokers they made the mistake and, therefore, should pay for it.

Cedric E. Stephens provides independent information and advice about the management of risks and insurance. For freeinformation or counsel email: aegis@cwjamaica.com or send text (SMS) message to 812-7233.