Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


Who is at fault? How would you react?

Posted by legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 - Created: 13 years ago
0 0

A legal/moral question for you:  How would you settle this affair in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />France?  Would the way you settle it here differ from how you’d settle it in another country?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


2 Vehicles are reversing out of their parking places in a supermarket car park.  Vehicle A starts a few seconds before vehicle B.  They collide on their rear bumpers.  Vehicle A suffers a scratched bumper.  Vehicle B suffers no damage.  Rough estimate of cost of repair to Vehicle A is around 100 Euros to re-spray the panel.


Small deal huh?   But wait a minute!  You are driver B; you’ve suffered no damage, yet driver A insists on filling out a “constat” to which you agree.  Then, with “constat” in hand, driver A suggest that you settle the damage in cash – i.e. that you give him the cost of the repair (his idea being that he started reversing first so you as driver B is at fault).  You are not happy to settle in cash because a)he has a “constat” in hand which he can always present at a later date and b)you are not so certain that you are entirely at fault.  On the other hand, you feel that you are at least partially at fault and you know that any claim going on to your insurance will affect your no-claims bonus. 


What do you do?  Do you let the whole thing (total approx. 100 Euros) go through the insurance?  Or do you brave the whole thing out, refusing any settlement and bluffing that he won’t submit an insurance claim for the same reasons that you do not want to? Or do you feel somewhat responsible and offer some cash?  How much? 


Is anything about your decision specific to being in France or would you decide exactly the same approach in any other country?

Sorry no image available

2 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 2)

Sorry no image available
Posted by Andy G-190935 - 13 years ago

I went through a similar thing recently. I agree with Beckett, you either settle together if you both agree the destroy the constat, or you submit the form and let the insurance companies decide. I don't think you should accept the blame in this case as it's open to interpretation. Who says the other driver was right just because (s)he started reversing before you?

This "to constat or not to constat" decision is used as a way of getting the most out of the situation, and people procrastinate about it while they speculate about which way gives them the most advantage (only to then find that they have left it too late to make a claim). <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

So yes, offer 50 Euros, or send in the constat. In my case I just sent in the constat (even though the damage to both vehicles was almost invisible) to avoid the inevitable battle, but it depends on how much your insurance premiums will increase afterwards. In my case it will be about 100 Euros. 

Take the easiest course!


Sorry no image available
Posted by Becketts Pen - 13 years ago

Hello there Legend...

This is a good one...

Personally, I would offer 50 Euros, thereby splitting the responsibility 50/50, since neither of you avoided nor specifically intended the accident...

I would also ensure that if the offer is accepted, the constat is destroyed...

Apart from anything else, this would mean that 'if' he decided to refuse the offer and tough it out through the insurance, it would be to recoup a mere 50 euros more than you are offering...

As you say, would anyone really go through the hassle for such a trifilingsum...?

Admittedly there is a risk that he refuses, but as an opening gambit, I'd be surprised if he didn't accept...

And at worst, if he does refuse, bargain up until he accepts (try 75 as a token that you accept more responsibility than him)... after all, I'm sure your 'no-claims' is worth more than 100 Euros.

Not sure if it's anything to do with France, but the inevitable ensuing beaurocratic hassle will only count in your favour...


P.S. Trusty bulletproof Mercedes eh... ;-)