A GBB forensic expert has recently epitomised the importance of our work here at GBB in the insurance industry by undisputedly proving a Claimant’s version of the accident circumstances to be false.
Using expert engineering evidence and a little bit of detective work, our expert has provided a report that brought the veracity of the claims in this case into question.
The expert was asked to ascertain if the account offered by the driver was plausible and to conduct a mechanical examination of the vehicle.
According to the Claimant, he swerved to avoid an animal in the road, causing his Vauxhall to pass between two rows of conifer trees, passed a further area of hedgerows, and across some gravel and a driveway before braking to a stop on a grass verge. The vehicle then slid down the verge into a large pond. As a result, the vehicle was extensively flood damaged.
Though unusual for GBB, the expert interviewed the Claimant when he went to inspect the vehicle, and got him to sign a written account of the circumstances and confirm it to be true. This account also included the information that the main road was closed due to a fatal accident; something that the Claimant said happened on a regular basis. He also stated that he was not familiar with the alternative route (incident site), despite having lived there for three years, and that it was raining heavily at the time of the accident.
Our expert then inspected the Vauxhall and discovered some interesting points of note that threw doubt on the Claimant’s explanation of the incident. These included:
- Three of the vehicle’s windows were open – despite the adverse weather conditions and the short journey the Claimant said he was making;
- The automatic gearbox was found to be in ‘neutral’ and the gear selector couldn’t be moved to any other position (Note: the only gear in which a vehicle will roll freely is ‘neutral’);
- An engine examination revealed no engine oil in the sump – indicating it had been drained or run dry prior to entering the water;
- The engine side of the air filter box was dry, with no evidence of having been filled with water as would be the case had the engine been running when it entered the water – indicating that the engine was switched off;
- The vehicle was fitted with ABS so should not have been able to skid as had been suggested.
The expert also found that the vehicle’s keys had no house key or personalised fob attached as may be expected, but did have two plastic tabs attached similar to those used by the motor trade.
The Claimant stated that an animal, possibly a fox or a dog, ran into the vehicle’s path from the left and that he swerved to the left. Our expert found this to be at odds with what the natural reaction of a driver would be – to swerve away from the hazard; in this case, to the offside.
In conclusion, the GBB expert determined that “the engine was not running when it entered the water and it would appear that the vehicle was incapable of running due to a lack of engine lubricant”. The gearbox was also in ‘neutral’, despite the driver stating that it was in ‘drive’ at the time that it entered into the pond.