Was this technically my fault? Someone crashed my car but I was in the driver's seat. Watch

maths42
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I was driving along a single track road today in the dark and it was wet. There were two cars coming the other way so I pulled into what looked like a muddy puddle but turned out to be a bit of the ditch. After the cars had passed, I couldn't get out of it and the driver of the second car that passed me noticed so came and offered to tow me out (he was driving a 4x4) so I accepted the offer. I took the brakes off and he towed my car out of the ditch. He then kept driving for a bit so I thought I must leave my brakes off but then he suddenly stopped and this made my car crash into his, causing damage to the back of his car. He took my name, mobile number and number plate and said he'll call me tomorrow.

So was it my fault? Should I tell my insurer? Will I lose my no claims? It is so stupid when someone else made my car crash and I wish I'd just declined the offer and called my breakdown cover now.
Last edited by maths42; 4 weeks ago
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IWMTom
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(Original post by maths42)
I was driving along a single track road today in the dark and it was wet. There were two cars coming the other way so I pulled into what looked like a muddy puddle but turned out to be a bit of the ditch. After the cars had passed, I couldn't get out of it and the driver of the second car that passed me noticed so came and offered to tow me out (he was driving a 4x4) so I accepted the offer. I took the brakes off and he towed my car out of the ditch. He then kept driving for a bit so I thought I must leave my brakes off but then he suddenly stopped and this made my car crash into his, causing damage to the back of his car. He took my name, mobile number and number plate and said he'll call me tomorrow.

So was it my fault? Should I tell my insurer? Will I lose my no claims? It is so stupid when someone else made my car crash and I wish I'd just declined the offer and called my breakdown cover now.
Logic would dictate you prepare for the car towing you to stop...
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maths42
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(Original post by IWMTom)
Logic would dictate you prepare for the car towing you to stop...
But he never told me that I would need to stop! I had never been towed before and honestly didn't think of it.

So what will happen?
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maths42
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I really don't want to lose my no claims that I have been building up. It would be unfair if that happened because of this when I wasn't actually driving.
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IWMTom
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(Original post by maths42)
But he never told me that I would need to stop! I had never been towed before and honestly didn't think of it.

So what will happen?
With the greatest of respect, what did you expect to happen? Did you think your car would magically stop without hitting the other guy?

I'm not sure how this would be treated by the insurers to be honest. I'm guessing they'll have the same outlook I have in that you should have known to slow and stop when the car infront of you did too, but you could argue that a towing car has a responsibility to ensure his load (i.e. you) is secure.

I really don't know.
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maths42
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(Original post by IWMTom)
With the greatest of respect, what did you expect to happen? Did you think your car would magically stop without hitting the other guy?

I'm not sure how this would be treated by the insurers to be honest. I'm guessing they'll have the same outlook I have in that you should have known to slow and stop when the car infront of you did too, but you could argue that a towing car has a responsibility to ensure his load (i.e. you) is secure.

I really don't know.
Thanks for being honest. I appreciate that I should have foreseen what would happen. Having said that, I would have thought that I shouldn't brake when he is moving and it was impossible to know when he would stop. And honestly, I didn't realise that he expected me to do anything - surely he shouldn't have assumed that I knew what to do?

I didn't take down any of his details but I presume that this will happen when he calls me.

What do you think that I should say to him when he calls? And do I need to tell my insurer before then? Will they be angry that I didn't at least take down his number plate?

What if he never calls? I suppose that would solve the problem.
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IWMTom
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(Original post by maths42)
Thanks for being honest. I appreciate that I should have foreseen what would happen. Having said that, I would thought that I shouldn't brake when he is moving and it was impossible to know when he would stop. And honestly, I didn't realise that he expected me to do anything - surely he shouldn't have assumed that I knew what to do?

I didn't take down any of his details but I presume that this will happen when he calls me.

What do you think that I should say to him when he calls? And do I need to tell my insurer before then? Will they be angry that I didn't at least take down his number plate?

What if he never calls? I suppose that would solve the problem.
If you were driving behind a car and it's brake lights illuminated, would you stop? Same principle, only you were attached to that car via a rope/chain.


You should have exchanged details to follow the legislation correctly. That includes you having his details.

You have a contractual obligation to inform your insurer of any incident that may lead to a claim... but the question remains whether this would lead to a claim.

I have a funny feeling the other party is responsible for anything they are towing and therefore the damage is their problem but I can't confirm that.

If he never calls.. I suppose you could just ignore it.. but you would be failing to disclose a material fact to your insurance company which opens you up to a cancellation should they find out.

It may be worth calling your insurer anonymously (withhold your number!) to ask their opinion.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by maths42)
I was driving along a single track road today in the dark and it was wet. There were two cars coming the other way so I pulled into what looked like a muddy puddle but turned out to be a bit of the ditch. After the cars had passed, I couldn't get out of it and the driver of the second car that passed me noticed so came and offered to tow me out (he was driving a 4x4) so I accepted the offer. I took the brakes off and he towed my car out of the ditch. He then kept driving for a bit so I thought I must leave my brakes off but then he suddenly stopped and this made my car crash into his, causing damage to the back of his car. He took my name, mobile number and number plate and said he'll call me tomorrow.

So was it my fault? Should I tell my insurer? Will I lose my no claims? It is so stupid when someone else made my car crash and I wish I'd just declined the offer and called my breakdown cover now.
Yes, your fault.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by maths42)
I really don't want to lose my no claims that I have been building up. It would be unfair if that happened because of this when I wasn't actually driving.
Too late, and it's entirely fair. What about the person that was trying to help you?

Who, exactly, do you think is responsible for pressing YOUR brake pedal?
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Vinny C
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In towing... the trailing car is totally responsible, sorry. You need to be damn good and ready for anything! Brakes should always be lightly applied to keep the rope taught.
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maths42
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(Original post by IWMTom)
If you were driving behind a car and it's brake lights illuminated, would you stop? Same principle, only you were attached to that car via a rope/chain.


You should have exchanged details to follow the legislation correctly. That includes you having his details.

You have a contractual obligation to inform your insurer of any incident that may lead to a claim... but the question remains whether this would lead to a claim.

I have a funny feeling the other party is responsible for anything they are towing and therefore the damage is their problem but I can't confirm that.

If he never calls.. I suppose you could just ignore it.. but you would be failing to disclose a material fact to your insurance company which opens you up to a cancellation should they find out.

It may be worth calling your insurer anonymously (withhold your number!) to ask their opinion.
Ok thanks. Do you think I should just tell the insurer soon and not mention not having his details, then provide them later if he calls me?

I don't want to risk having my insurance cancelled for not reporting it.
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maths42
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Too late, and it's entirely fair. What about the person that was trying to help you?

Who, exactly, do you think is responsible for pressing YOUR brake pedal?
But he didn't know whether or not I had any experience being towed and he didn't tell me about braking. It wasn't obvious to me at the time.
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maths42
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(Original post by Vinny C)
In towing... the trailing car is totally responsible, sorry. You need to be damn good and ready for anything! Brakes should always be lightly applied to keep the rope taught.
But he didn't tell me to do this! Is it not a defence that he just started towing me without explaining what I need to do?

At least the guy was nice.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by maths42)
But he didn't know whether or not I had any experience being towed and he didn't tell me about braking. It wasn't obvious to me at the time.
Sorry - I know it's not nice being in an accident. However, it was up to you to judge if you were comfortable being towed, not for the person trying to help you.

Please stop trying to blame someone that was trying to help you. This is your fault.
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IWMTom
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(Original post by maths42)
Ok thanks. Do you think I should just tell the insurer soon and not mention not having his details, then provide them later if he calls me?

I don't want to risk having my insurance cancelled for not reporting it.
Yes, you should inform your insurer so they are aware of a potential upcoming claim.
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maths42
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Sorry - I know it's not nice being in an accident. However, it was up to you to judge if you were comfortable being towed, not for the person trying to help you.

Please stop trying to blame someone that was trying to help you. This is your fault.
But I didn't really have time to make a decision, he just came over and said he'd tow me out and started doing it without telling me what I should do.

I presume if I had called out my breakdown cover they would have handled things differently.
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maths42
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(Original post by IWMTom)
Yes, you should inform your insurer so they are aware of a potential upcoming claim.
Not sure I'd claim though as it's probably not worth the loss of my no-claims. He seemed nice so I'm hoping he won't expect an excessive amount of money. Will declaring it and therefore having to declare the accident when I next buy insurance make much difference to the price?

What if he dials the wrong number and thinks I'm ignoring him, then goes to the police?
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nexttime
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Unless the tow rope was very very short or he stopped very very suddenly, clearly this would be the towed car's fault.
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maths42
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(Original post by nexttime)
Unless the tow rope was very very short or he stopped very very suddenly, clearly this would be the towed car's fault.
Well it might have been short, I didn't actually look at it to be honest. And he did stop suddenly like I said.
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IWMTom
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(Original post by maths42)
Not sure I'd claim though as it's probably not worth the loss of my no-claims. He seemed nice so I'm hoping he won't expect an excessive amount of money. Will declaring it and therefore having to declare the accident when I next buy insurance make much difference to the price?

What if he dials the wrong number and thinks I'm ignoring him, then goes to the police?
If he claims, you'll lose it anyway. If you don't disclose it, you'll get cancelled.

You may be starting to overthink this a bit...
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