Opinions please

  Al94 22:28 17 Sep 2014
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Answered

This afternoon I was taking stuff to the dump in a trailer. I asked my elderly neighbour if she had anything to go and she had so I took it. On returning I was reversing the trailer back into the driveway, no division between the two driveways other than an inch high concrete edging. I had to be quick reversing in due to heavy traffic and the trailer went at a bit of an angle with one wheel on her side of the edging. I had to wait quite a while for a gap in traffic wanting to drive out and straighten up when suddenly I caught sight of her car reversing from the front of her house. I blew the horn but she didn't see me and didn't hear and reversed into the mudguard support of the trailer damaging her rear nearside bumper and light. She has hit numerous things in the past few years resulting in a lot of repairs. I felt sorry for her and perhaps somewhat culpable as I had partly ended up.on her side of the divide so I told her to get a price and I would see what I could do. I was kind of hoping she would say it was ok. She came to the door tonight to tell me someone was calling at 9 in the morning to quote for repairs, my wife is now saying I am being too soft and that she should have been more careful reversing as I was stopped at the time and tried to warn her. Really dont want to fall out with an elderly neighbour but maybe my wife has a point? If it's a reasonable quote I may cover it but if it's new bumper etc etc I may play hardball.

  Forum Editor 22:44 17 Sep 2014

Really dont want to fall out with an elderly neighbour but maybe my wife has a point?

Your neighbour has a right to do whatever she likes in her own driveway - your vehicle shouldn't have been even partly on her property.

Those are the bald facts; how you deal with the relationship side of it is up to you, but remember that you told her to get a price. That was tantamount to an admission of culpability. Your neighbour has simply done what you asked her to do.

  HondaMan 09:18 18 Sep 2014

Even on your own property, you have a duty of care to others who may be there, even if they are trespassers. Suppose your trailer bracket had been a child.

No, I don't think you owe her anything, certainly not the costs of repairing the damage which SHE did

  Al94 09:55 18 Sep 2014
Answer

Turned out the quote is under a couple of hundred pounds so for the sake of not falling out with an elderly widow whom I have lived beside for 20 years I will cover it.

Hondaman - you are absolutely correct - she should have been careful when reversing out - something most people on the road don't do anyway as it's much safer to reverse in to the driveway and have a clear view when driving out. She has managed to hit her own house on more than one occasion!

Your neighbour has a right to do whatever she likes in her own driveway

No she hasn't. As has been pointed out she has a duty of care on her own property.

  BillSers 11:14 18 Sep 2014

You'll have to pay now you said it. In the old days insurance companies told drivers to not say sorry or it's an admission of guilt. But if she's bumping into things maybe it's time someone told her to retake her test.

A fierce elderly relation of mine drove well into her eighties but when she began falling asleep and waking up in a ditch in Richmond Park I had to put a stop to it.

I once dropped my daughter off at the train station. I was in neutral, handbrake on, engine idling. I waved as she closed the door and a car, parked ten yards ahead, decided to reverse. As he got closer I tooted the horn repeatedly right up until he slammed into my bonnet. We exchanged details only for his fictitious address to be logged with DVLA, but the insurance paid up.

  spuds 11:17 18 Sep 2014

I should be very careful about 'Duty of Care', because it might be a case that a court as to decide, and it won't come cheap.

Not a motor vehicle in my case,and I apologise, but owning property next to council owned property, and repairs that they did to their property that seriously effected and damaged my property plus very serious inconveniences to myself. It was a long story due to the council flatly refusing to accept any liability, even my Human Rights ( Article 1 of Protocol 1 - protection of property) were ignored. The problem was eventually resolved, but not without serious concerns, and a lot of hard work.

Back onto the subject of this incident, is your or the lady's vehicle insurance 'protected', because either of you might be able to claim on insurance, without effecting the insurance the following year. Possibly just the excess to pay.

  bumpkin 12:43 18 Sep 2014

* my wife is now saying I am being too soft and that she should have been more careful reversing as I was stopped at the time and tried to warn her. *

I have to agree with her. The fact it should not have been there is no excuse for driving into it. By offering to pay for it your neighbour now assumes that it was your fault when it clearly wasn't.

  Forum Editor 13:54 18 Sep 2014

"No she hasn't. As has been pointed out she has a duty of care on her own property."

That's where you're wrong. The duty of care, as defined in the Occupiers’ Liability Acts 1957 and 1984 applies to visitors to a property - people who are expected to call, like milk delivery people, postal workers, newspaper deliverers etc. In those cases an occupier does indeed have a duty of care.

There is no duty of care however, if the occupier does not 'permit or invite' a person onto private property, and in this case you were not permitted or invited to drive onto your neighbour's land. In such a case occupiers have to act reasonably to protect any person that may come on to the occupier's property only if they are aware that this is happening and that there is a danger present.

Your neighbour was obviously not aware that your car was partially on her drive, or that there was a danger present. If the incident went to court you would lose.

  Al94 14:07 18 Sep 2014

Occupiers’ Liability Acts 1957 and 1984 applies to England and Wales only. There was no injury to a third party - it is reasonable to expect that anyone reversing ensures they have clear passage, if they fail to check and hit something I would be confident in law they would have to pay for their own damage.

  bumpkin 14:08 18 Sep 2014

Your neighbour was obviously not aware that your car was partially on her drive, or that there was a danger present. If the incident went to court you would lose.

So if I back into somebody or something on my driveway because I didn't look then it is their fault then. Is there no obligation to make oneself aware of possible dangers or obstructions.

  carver 14:35 18 Sep 2014

When reversing a vehicle you have a duty of care to ensure you do not injure any person or damage property, failure to do so is classed as careless driving.

It doesn't matter if it's on private property or not you still have that duty of care, even if that person or property is on your land without your consent.

The laws covering a moving vehicle are different to that "Occupiers’ Liability Acts 1957 and 1984" that applies if some one has an accident while on your property not while you are driving a car.

But you told her to get a quote so effectively admitted liability, silly boy.

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