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I accidentally rear ended a fellow when he started driving…

Hi I accidentally rear...

Hi I accidentally rear ended a fellow when he started driving from a stop sign then stopped abruptly. It was lied kms (5km or 10 km) but there is still damage to his bumper. However he is on a learners license with 5 people in his vehicle and it was past 10pm at night. The rental car company says I am still civilly liable despite it being illegal for him to be out that late with that many people in his car. Do I have a leg to stand on here?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And how old is the car?

I'm sorry I kept losing cell service! It was in Auckland and the car seemed to be about 5 years old or less

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

I reported it to my car rental company the first week if February. She has not yet contacted them

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think So?

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/14/2018
Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,776
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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The law about following a car is that you must follow at a safe distance to enable you to stop, if the car in front stops suddenly. In a situation such as you described, it may be that the driver has contributed to the situation by acting erratically, but primarily you are at fault.

The fact that he was on a learner's licence does not affect your liability. That is irrelevant to the issue of negligent driving, except to the extent that if his driving was erratic caused by his lack of experience, that may reduce the percentage of liability. So it is open to you to argue that his lack of experience as demonstrated by driving outside of the terms of his learner's licence, was a contributing factor. But this would only reduce the damages by a small amount such as 10 or 20%

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hello, thank you for the reply. So basically you mean that despite him driving illegally I have no recourse against this? He is not at fault at all? I'm from another country and our laws are a bit different. If the driver here had no insurance or was the same as the situation I described, they would be at fault. Auckland is definitely not the same?

He is no doubt at risk of being charged with driving outside the terms of his restricted license. But the primary cause of the accident was that you were following too closely. The state of his drivers licence does not affect this liability under New Zealand law.

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It may be a factor in reducing damages only, but this is very well settled law in New Zealand

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok thank you

Thank you for the reply and for using this site. You may ask further questions or rate this answer when you are ready.

Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,776
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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