Car damaged but woman can't contact lorry driver

Ms Paulla Lee alleged that the lorry rolled back and rammed into her car despite her sounding the horn. She claimed the driver promised to pay for the damage, but is uncontactable.
Ms Paulla Lee alleged that the lorry rolled back and rammed into her car despite her sounding the horn. She claimed the driver promised to pay for the damage, but is uncontactable.PHOTO: PAULLA LEE

Finance manager Paulla Lee was waiting at a traffic-light junction in Serangoon Avenue 2 last Friday when she saw a lorry rolling back towards her car.

The 61-year-old sounded the horn, but she alleged that the lorry did not stop and rammed into her nine-year-old Toyota Wish.

Her car's bonnet buckled and the headlight cracked. It would cost $1,200 to repair the damage.

She said the driver promised he would pay for the damage and left his phone number, but rushed off saying he had to finish his delivery.

But Ms Lee said he later became uncontactable. When she called his firm, SNL Logistics, she claimed she overheard a supervisor tell the worker she was on the phone with, that the accident could be her fault and the firm would not compensate her.

Ms Lee told The Straits Times yesterday: "I trusted the driver, so I didn't make him sign anything to admit it was his fault... I didn't install a camera as it is an old car.

"It's unfair that I have to pay for the repair or lose my no-claim bonus from my insurer."

Ms Lee has reported the matter to her insurer, AXA Insurance.

Attempts to reach the lorry driver were unsuccessful. A spokesman for SNL Logistics said in Mandarin: "Everyone has his side of the story. I will let the insurer settle this." He declined to elaborate.

AXA Insurance said it is working with Ms Lee on her claim and will conduct investigations into the accident. It noted that in recent years, the prevalence of cameras installed in cars has helped in the assessment of motor insurance claims.

Other insurance companies said that cases like Ms Lee's are common and said it is important to have evidence to back up claims.

Mr Derek Teo, executive director of the General Insurance Association of Singapore, said:

"If the cause of accident can clearly be attributed... it is best to get a mutually signed document on the facts as evidence of admission of fault."

Passengers in the cars involved can be eyewitnesses but they may be seen as being biased, he noted.

A Great Eastern spokesman said it was difficult for a car owner to defend against another party's claims unless he produces evidence in his favour.

Even if both parties agreed on a private settlement, they should still report the matter to the insurers, said an NTUC Income spokesman. "This is to protect both motorists from future claims against them over the same accident," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Car damaged but woman can't contact lorry driver'. Print Edition | Subscribe