Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fault lines

Strange times are sometimes the most educational. On my way to an interview on Wednesday morning, I got a call from the guy I collided into. Despite me thinking that all those worries were over, a new chapter began.

He had gone to pick up his car, but suddenly found that he had to pay the excess to get his car back. Apparently if the excess was not paid, the person who is getting repairs courtesy of the insurance company must pay the excess for their repairs. Needing his car immediately, he got the money together and paid it to get the car out.
Yes, I hadn't paid the excess, but I neither did I know that not paying the excess soon enough would cause the other person to be put out.

So he urged me to pay the excess so he could be refunded the money. So not knowing exactly where the nearest place to pay I called the insurance company. After some dilly-dallying, I was put through to another guy who was on his game. He said that despite my misleading indication causing the crash, it was not, according to the Road Code, my fault. I was on the main road and hence I still had the right to change my mind, and him being in a side road should have reacted with a bit more care.

In other words, AA will contest who is at fault with Fintel, in a duel to see who has to pay for the repairs. If it turns out that he is at fault then our repairs will be paid for (!).

Of course this doubles as an ethical problem: The other guy is now out of pocket for my fault (regardless of what the Road Code says) and had to borrow from his father just to get his car back. So I called him with the bad news that the insurance won't be forthcoming immediately, and also made a verbal agreement that I would forward him the money that he had to pay for the excess with the agreement that if the case comes to pass that it becomes his 'fault' then he would send the money back to me.

Xin raised the spectre of suspicion that he could deny the agreement and pocket the money. I do have some evidence, texts and my back account statement to prove that I have done that so if it hypothetically leads to a civil case, I have something. But he has been very understanding despite the circumstances and I believe a little trust is in order.

If it was the case that he was at 'fault', I don't really mind him keeping the excess as it was my fault anyway. But we'll see which way the cookie crumbles.

1 comment:

James said...

I think that you've done the right thing. You have trusted the person and I would expect him to pay you back, if the outcome is that he was at fault. You can't live your life trying to account for the 1 person out of 100 who might run off with the money. Life would be too stressful.

I also agree that you were at fault, based on what I understand of the incident. I mean, the other guy should be able to rely on your indication. That's what indicators are for!

Then again, I notice lots of cases when people don't indicate and they turn anyway. The same probably applies for the reverse too. I guess, in Auckland, you need to be careful as you can't totally trust what a driver is indicating. It's a shame though.