Damage to property by vehicles – Where you stand
It’s the time of year when, despite the heavy rainfall and standing water on the fields, inevitably a car, van or lorry driver will manage to get stuck, usually somewhere where they shouldn’t have been in the first place.
Other people’s vehicles getting stuck can cause a lot of hassle and a lot of damage. Acres’ Director, Nigel Wellings, says that the following points are worth remembering:
- Damage caused by a car, van or lorry to other people’s property (i.e. roadway or crop of wheat) is covered by the vehicle insurance. It is part of the third-party element of motor insurance.
The difficulty is proving that they have done the damage. If you can get a photo of the vehicle at the scene with the vehicle registration number visible, then we can track who the insurer is and claim from them. Without the registration or a photo at the scene of the damage, it becomes difficult
We have a client near a main A-road where 2 to 6 vehicles a year skid off the road and cause damage to the fence and hedge. We have two claims ongoing for them at the moment, both for over £1000 for the damage caused. Around 8 times out of 10 we manage to get them paid from the offending vehicle’s third-party insurance.
- Signage can be very important on the farm. A client had a tanker of liquid fertiliser delivered to their farm. On the first day, the driver was instructed the way to go around the yard to get the fertiliser to the tanks with no problems. On the second day, the same driver decided to take a shortcut by opening some metal farm gates and driving across part of a slatted cattle yard.
Halfway across the tractor unit and tanker went through the concrete slats up to the axles! It took a week to recover the tanker and the lorry owners sued our client for damage to the lorry, hire of another lorry, etc. Our client put in a counter claim for damage to the concrete slats (around £10,000). The transport company argued in court that a weight limit should have been clearly signposted in front of the yard. We could not believe it when the judge awarded in their favour.
Let this tale be a warning to you. What may seem like common sense to you may not be to others and some ‘No Turning’, ‘No Access to Motor Vehicles’ and ‘No HGVs beyond this point’ signs may save you hassle and may protect you if someone were to try to sue you for damages to a vehicle on your property.