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Just had an accident and could use some advice...

Discussion in 'Serious' started by NuTech, 19 Feb 2010.

  1. NuTech

    NuTech Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me if this post is all over the place, but hopefully you can understand why.

    Last night I was involved in an accident that could of very easily ended up being much worse. However, due to a 'complication' (remember that, I'll explain in a sec) my family and loved ones are very, very annoyed and are pushing me to sue those who they think are to blame (especially my sister and her best friend, a solicitor).

    I'm hoping I can get some moral advice from people who are neither protective of me or angry about what could of happened.

    So here's what actually happened.

    Last night I had my standard 2 hour AA driving lesson. I've been taking them for quite a while now and I'm close to test ready. Towards the end of the lesson I came off the dual carriageway which leads to a very large empty roundabout with great visability. I could see a single lorry on the other side of the roundabout and felt I had more than enough time to enter the roundabout without bothering the lorry (it's a huge roundabout built underneath the carriageway).

    I guess I was wrong.

    I kept speed (I think just over 20), but just as I approached the roundabout my instructor slammed the breaks causing the car behind to crash into the back of us. After the crash he asked if I was okay (dizzy with some back and shoulder pain, but okay) and then went to talk to the other driver while I looked for my glasses (they flew off my face during the crash).

    I got out as the other driver and passengers got back into their car and drove off. Our back end was completely wrecked but the car was still drivable. I asked if he got their details, he nodded, we got back into the car and I drove home.

    Remember I mentioned that 'complication'? Well it's a big one. My instructor had been drinking beers for about 45mins leading up to the crash.

    As we got close to my house, he rolled down his window and threw the remaining beers and empties out of the car into bushes.

    Once outside my house, he asked again if I was okay then got into the drivers seat and drove off.

    An hour or so later I get a call from my instructor. He explains that he's talked to AA and if I make a claim to them directly I'll "probably get an easy grand" and while he doesn't say it explicitly, he alludes that I shouldn't mention his drinking. I told him I'll think about it.

    I met my family for lunch today and as you can probably imagine, they're furious and my sister immediately (without asking) contacted her best friend who wants me to sue the hell out of the AA.

    So now I'm in this **** situation. If I go down that road, the entire story will come out and god knows what will happen to my instructor. We're not really friends but he's a nice enough guy with a wife and young child and he's never drunk alcohol on any other lessons before. The idea of profiting while another guy is destroyed makes me feel sick.

    The amount of money my sister's friend is suggesting is definitely nice, and god knows I could use it, but I don't want to be that guy. Like others, I'm the type that laughs at those 'accident helpline' adverts and criticizes Americans for being a nation of lawsuit obsessed ambulance chasers. This feels so hypocritical. Also some of this is my own fault. I could of asked my instructor to not drink. Maybe I should of stopped for that lorry.

    Anyway, now I'm being hounded by both my instructor who wants me to take this 'internal claim' from AA and this solicitor, who is a nice girl but obviously has her own agenda (probably sees this as an easy win). She also wants me to go to the hospital asap to get an official report.

    Two days ago my biggest concern was this weird whistling sound a case fan was making.
     
  2. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I would head down to the Citizen's Advice Bureau - they'll be able to help you get confidential advice on something like this. Everyone you've talked to so far has their own agenda.
     
  3. Mnet_Gaming

    Mnet_Gaming New Member

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    Hmm strange situation. I'd probably clock it up to life experience and walk away. Your AA driver shouldn't be drinking at all but you'd be doing him out of a job if you report him. I'm not sure I'd want that on my concious over money.

    On the other side of the fence, you could have had a major novice screw up and his reactions would have been poor. That could have cost someone's life - should he be off the road?

    I'd avoid taking money. You could put yourself in some serious trouble if they find out he was drinking and you "forgot" to mention it
     
  4. pdf27

    pdf27 New Member

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    Was anyone injured in the accident? If so then it becomes a legal requirement to report it to the police, at which point the only thing left to do is tell them exactly what happened when they interview you - which they will.
    If not, you have more choices. However, I would say that it is ENORMOUSLY unprofessional of the instructor to drink during a lesson, and the fact that he threw the rest of them out of the window after the crash shows that he knows it. Finally, driving off after the lesson having been drinking is also potentially very illegal.
     
  5. Mnet_Gaming

    Mnet_Gaming New Member

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    Yeah, that really does raise your eyebrows doesn't it. I hate drink drivers, it's such a enormous sign of stupidity
     
  6. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    How much did he actually have to drink, your instructor?
     
  7. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    I am having trouble understanding the situation here.

    Surely if the other car was going fast enough that close to a roundabout then maybe they assumed you have time to go as well? Or were we not close enough to the roundabout at this point?

    The only conclusion I could come up with, even before I read he had been drinking is that the driving instructor massively overreacted. Then when I read he was drinking that only confirmed my assumption.

    I think the only thing you can do morally is just think to yourself who really was at fault. If the driving instructor broke hard because you genuinely made an error, the its part your fault, and part the fault of the person behind for being too close or going too fast.

    If you thought you could get out, and from what it sounds like, the car behind thought you could as well then the instructor reacted inappropriately then its his fault, but again also a little bit the fault of the person behind for being a bit close. But I don't think anyone would blame them if someone seemingly "randomly" broke hard, though you are in a clearly marked learner car.

    Edit: After re reading, I can honestly say that the only thing to do is explain fully what happened. Covering for your driving instructor is going to be a very bad thing if it ever gets out.

    I have compiled a list instead of a huge paragraph.

    • You may have not seen him drinking before, but he may do between lessons.
    • If he feels it appropriate to drink during lessons, then he probably has a problem.
    • If he had been drinking for some time, chances are that he smelt of alcohol. What if the people in the other car smelt this?
    • No matter how "nice" he is, if he drinks on a driving lesson then he shouldn't be doing it.
    • The other drives insurance is going to go up, and they will lose any no claims they had, they will have to pay for any excess. Like I said I am not sure whose fault it is, but if it wasn't theirs then I could not bring myself to do that to someone.
    • You would be in some serious trouble if you cover it up, claim and it comes out.
    • How would you feel if you let this one go, and then something happens due to his drinking...
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2010
  8. Krog_Mod

    Krog_Mod New Member

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    I probably wouldn't have been driving with him had I known he was drinking. Yeah I'd say it's his fault since his judgment was impaired and he was the one who slammed on the brakes.

    I agree with Matticus on every item in his list. I definitely think you should just tell the truth.
     
  9. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    Tell the truth, otherwise you are penalising the person who crashed into you even more for something that was done on the back end of drinking and driving.

    edit: and your driving instructor will be free to do so again.
     
  10. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

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    Tell the truth, don't get embroiled in someone elses lie.

    As an aside, why the f*** did you continue driving when he was drinking?
     
  11. LeMaltor

    LeMaltor >^_^

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    WTF???????
     
  12. mvagusta

    mvagusta Did a skid that went for two weeks.

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    The fan may need some oiling, and/or may be a bit loosely mounted, and/or the grill/vent may be dirty/blocked.

    This may be a little off topic, but just wondering, if you might know the number of a good driving instructor? Hopefully someone who is a little bit fun.
     
  13. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    The AA were very good when I learnt. They're not that fun, but you get decent tuition. :p
     
  14. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

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    why the hell would you get into the car with someone who had been drinking ?
     
  15. wgy

    wgy New Member

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    This may be over simplifying it too much.. but.

    It sounds like if you report this incident in any way, your going to hurt someone indirectly no matter what.

    the car behinds no claim bonuses, your potential lying to the police while under interview or the AA tutors job.

    however, given the situation, i think their is only one way to report it.
    tell the truth, to the police. leave out no detail. he broke the law, you and dont forget the car behind, did not.
    to claim money / sue / work around such details is risky buisness running errands for anothers agenda.

    but heck, thats only what i would do.

    P.S ...why the hell did you even get into the car?!
     
  16. smc8788

    smc8788 ...at least I have chicken

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    The guy has a family and young children, and drives for his profession, yet he was stupid enough to drink on a lesson, and then get behind the wheel? No only is it highly unprofessional, it's also illegal. He doesn't deserve any sympathy, at least no more than any other drink driver.
     
  17. craigey1

    craigey1 Active Member

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    I think part of the problem here is that it will only be your word against the instructors if you say he was drinking before your lesson. There's no proof that he was over the limit, let alone had enough to even partially impair his judgement or reaction. It may be unprofessional, but without proof the AA wont risk taking any action other then a verbal warning.

    I'd still claim against the other driver anyway as someone going into the back of you is nearly always their fault regardless of the circumstances, besides they didn't swap insurance details so they've probably got something to hide (like no insurance, license, road tax etc).
     
  18. Arthur

    Arthur Comment is over there ----->

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    What about the driver of the car that hit you ?

    He probably has a wife, child and job too.....keeping quiet about the instructor just means this guy will get all the blame :-/
     
  19. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    ^^ This. In spades.

    It is nice of you to empathise with the driving instructor, but there are honest mistakes and then there is utter stupidity. His actions fall well into the latter category.
    • It is illegal to drink alcohol in a car while in control of the vehicle, and as an instructor he is in control of a vehicle, even if you as a learner driver are driving (dual brakes, remember?).
    • If he drinks inappropriately once, it is likely that he has done it before. Riddle me this: how many empty cans of beer were in the vehicle before you got in?
    • This time his drink-induced error of judgement caused some damage to a car. What if his drink-induced error of judgement had caused injury or death to you? Or the next learner? Or another driver, or a child at the roadside?
    • Although the other drivers are technically at fault for the accident regardless (clear braking distance should me maintained at all times, especially from a learner vehicle), again the circumstances of the accident could have been different. Why should an innocent driver pay for his dumb behaviour?

    From your account of the whole insurance angle it sounds like instruction was taking place in your car. Is that correct? If it wasn't your car then the damage caused to it and the insurance claims involved are not your problem. Stay out of it and change your instructor to someone with a more professional approach, although i would be inclined to shop him to his professional body also (and again, why the **** step in the car with your instructor if he has been drinking? You PAY for his instruction. You are his CUSTOMER. You can expect certain STANDARDS OF SERVICE).

    If it is your car that was damaged, sue him mercilessly. He won't learn from his mistakes if people keep protecting him from the consequences because he has a young wife and kid. They are his repsonisibility, not yours.
     
  20. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    As others have said, i wouldnt have got in the car. But im also of from the school of thought that 'if your stupid enough to drink and drive then you deserve to get ****ed for it' simple as imo.

    People lose loved ones all the time because of some cock who decided it was a good idea to drive whilst drunk, if you can get one of them off the road you're doing everyone a favour, his family and commitments are NOT you issue.
     

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