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  • Ronald Dawson
    From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=174831&thesection=news&th esubsection=world Dawson World News Driver s insurer may face £40m bill for
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 3, 2001
      From
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=174831&thesection=news&th
      esubsection=world Dawson

      World News

      Driver's insurer may face £40m bill for British rail disaster

      03.03.2001 By Barrie Clement
      SELBY - The company that insured the motorist at the centre of the Selby
      train disaster could face the biggest bill in the history of car insurance.

      Fortis Insurance, which indemnified Gary Hart, the driver of the Land Rover
      that caused the crash, might be forced to pay up to £40m to the victims of
      the tragedy. Claims will be made on behalf of the 13 people thought to have
      died and the 70 who were injured, 30 of them seriously.

      Mr Hart's vehicle veered off the M62 early on Wednesday, fell down an
      embankment on to the main Newcastle-to-London railway line and was struck by
      a Great North Eastern Railways express. The passenger service derailed, but
      carried on for another half a mile and smashed into a Freightliner coal
      train.

      Mr Hart was described by his stepfather, Martyn Taylor, as being
      "inconsolable with grief" yesterday.

      Police said that the possibility that Mr Hart, from the village of Strubby
      in Lincolnshire, fell asleep at the wheel was among aspects of the accident
      being investigated.

      The driver and his relatives said that the Land Rover, which was towing a
      trailer with a car on it, suffered a blow-out.

      Friends said Mr Hart would like to relate what happened, but has been
      advised not to make any statements. It is understood that police officers
      have failed to find any evidence of a burst tyre and have renewed their
      appeal for witnesses.

      Insurance experts said Fortis would face claims from the bereaved that could
      be up to £750,000 for a breadwinner and would also have to meet the cost of
      the care for the those who are permanently disabled.

      GNER and Freightliner could seek up to £12m for the trains involved in the
      collision – although four of the nine passenger coaches and the locomotive
      at the back of the train may be salvageable.

      Train companies are expected to ask for compensation for the disruption to
      their timetables. Passengers are being bused between Doncaster and York and
      the line is likely to be closed until 12 March. Railtrack will demand
      reimbursement for the cost of repairing the track.

      The company conceded that Mr Hart's insurance policy provided for unlimited
      liability for third-party claims, but insisted that there would be no
      problem in meeting the bill.

      Alan Sendall, a claims director at Fortis, said reinsurance arrangements
      were in place to meet the liability, which he estimated at "tens of millions
      of pounds". The insurance company is part of the Fortis group, a
      Dutch-Belgian financial company involved in the insurance, banking and
      investment markets. It made a profit of £1.3bn (2.1bn euros) on assets of
      £270bn in the first nine months of last year.

      It is possible that re-insurers might try to mitigate their liability by
      claiming that the Highways Agency should have erected more barriers to
      ensure that runaway vehicles could not end up on the tracks.

      They could also take issue with the crashworthiness of the GNER carriages,
      but insurance industry experts said that the High Court would be unlikely to
      find in their favour.
    • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
      ... A somewhat trivial point in the context of such a tragedy, but note that neither bus passengers nor operators can claim for disruption to their journeys
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 3, 2001
        > Train companies are expected to ask for compensation for the disruption
        > to their timetables. Passengers are being bused between Doncaster and
        > York and the line is likely to be closed until 12 March. Railtrack will
        > demand reimbursement for the cost of repairing the track.

        A somewhat trivial point in the context of such a tragedy, but note that
        neither bus passengers nor operators can claim for disruption to their
        journeys caused by long-term roadworks etc.
      • Ronald Dawson
        ... I know, but it s just that it seemed so odd. ... Doing road work is some thing else (it s like in Montreal we have two seasons, winter and construction),
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 4, 2001
          Philip wrote:
          >> Train companies are expected to ask for compensation for the disruption
          >> to their timetables. Passengers are being bused between Doncaster and
          >> York and the line is likely to be closed until 12 March. Railtrack will
          >> demand reimbursement for the cost of repairing the track.

          >A somewhat trivial point in the context of such a tragedy,

          I know, but it's just that it seemed so odd.

          >but note that
          >neither bus passengers nor operators can claim for disruption to their
          >journeys caused by long-term roadworks etc.

          Doing road work is some thing else (it's like in Montreal we have two
          seasons, winter and construction), you'll know about it and can plan ahead.
          What happened at Great Heck was a freak accident. Dawson
        • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
          ... No. I meant, *I* was being trivial. ... That s sensible. In Britain (well northern England, at least) we do all urban roadworks in the winter, when
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 4, 2001
            > Philip wrote:
            > >> Train companies are expected to ask for compensation for the
            > > disruption to their timetables.
            >
            > >A somewhat trivial point in the context of such a tragedy,
            >
            > I know, but it's just that it seemed so odd.

            No. I meant, *I* was being trivial.

            > >but note that
            > >neither bus passengers nor operators can claim for disruption to their
            > >journeys caused by long-term roadworks etc.
            >
            > Doing road work is some thing else (it's like in Montreal we have two
            > seasons, winter and construction), you'll know about it and can plan
            > ahead.

            That's sensible. In Britain (well northern England, at least) we do all
            urban roadworks in the winter, when commuting traffic is at its worst, and
            the weather causes problems. Conversely, the Motorways seem to have
            roadworks in the Summer, when everyone is using them to go on Holiday etc.
            Barmy!
          • Chris Bradshaw
            ... I believe in Canada and the U.S., there is an upper limit that an insurer will pay, $2 million or $5 million. ... In Ottawa about 7-8 years ago, a
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 4, 2001
              > Driver's insurer may face £40m bill for British rail disaster
              > GNER and Freightliner could seek up to £12m for the trains involved in the
              > collision – although four of the nine passenger coaches and the locomotive
              > at the back of the train may be salvageable.

              I believe in Canada and the U.S., there is an upper limit that an
              insurer will pay,
              $2 million or $5 million.

              > It is possible that re-insurers might try to mitigate their liability by
              > claiming that the Highways Agency should have erected more barriers to
              > ensure that runaway vehicles could not end up on the tracks.

              In Ottawa about 7-8 years ago, a semi-trailer truck left the main
              freeway just
              before the road crossed the transitway. It fell into the transitway
              trench where
              they was an adjacent public sidewalk, killing two people and critically
              injuring a
              third (two mothers were walking with two children in a stroller). The
              main
              emphasis of the investigation was the lack of proper road barriers to
              prevent the
              dire consequences that did result.

              In this case, the driver is surely responsible for his vehicle leaving
              the roadway,
              but not for the significance of the consequences that resulted in this
              particular
              case. I think the road and RR authorities will be held responsible for
              a
              significant portion of the damages, at least they would if this had
              taken place in
              N. America.

              Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa
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