Friday, March 1, 2024

Out of pocket after crash


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WHEN Shirley and Steven Gittens were awakened from their sleep by a loud bang in the wee hours of Saturday morning, never in their wildest dreams did they expect to find a van upside down on their front lawn.Not only did the unwelcome guest cause over $10 000 in damage but the couple have been left in a quandary over who will foot this huge repair bill for their property.That is because the van was apparently stolen, the thief ran off after the crash and the insurance company is not accepting liability.The upset couple, who reside at Gibbons Ridge, Christ Church, told the DAILY NATION yesterday that they did not know what to do.“We were asleep when we heard a loud bang. Steven got up and looked through the window and he said ‘I just see a head going so’, Shirley explained as she pointed to the western side of their home.She said they got out of bed and went outside and that was when they saw a blue van lying on its side on their front lawn.In addition, their fencing and guard wall were destroyed.“We went to the van and said hello a number of times because we thought that someone was inside and injured. We got no answer so we called the police. When they came they opened the van and there was no one inside. That was when we realised that the head that we saw was the person running away.”But Shirley said when the police called the station to report the registration number, they were informed that the owner of the van was at the station reporting it stolen.The couple said the owner soon arrived and told them that the van was stolen while parked at Oistins.It was only at daylight that the shocked couple were able to see the extent of the damage to their property.The vehicle had knocked over the fence, an arch, lights, a doorbell, a mail box, several plant pots and part of the guard wall.A perplexed Shirley also wondered where the driver was going with the van when he crashed into their property.“We are hearing that it was stolen from Oistins, but the only direction the driver could have been going is Oistins because this is Wilcox via Oistins”, she reasoned.Steven said he contacted Co-operators General Insurance Company, which had insured the vehicle and they promptly sent someone to assess the damage on Saturday.But he lamented that when he contacted the company on Monday he was informed that they were not accepting liability.“From our point of view the owner of the van is responsible because his wife told me that they left a spare key in the van. The insurance company said they could not raise his premiums but what about us?” Shirley stated, while her frustrated husband complained: “They break up my guard wall and get off scot-free, and I have to bear the cost of rebuilding the whole guard wall.”When contacted, Barry Luke of Co-operators said while he was sympathetic with the couple the insurance company could not get involved because the vehicle was stolen and, furthermore, it was not insured comprehensively.“This is general insurance policy. It is just not related to Co-operators General Insurance. We hold a policy for the insured. The van was stolen, so it is a criminal offence and they would have to approach the police to find the man who did the damage,” he stated. (GS)


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