Motor Insurance Claim | Accident or Reckless Collision?

A collision but not an accident?

This is gonna be a landmark case for Singapore and maybe even for Malaysia.

If you had already forgotten about the recent May 12, 2012  accident where Mr. Ma Chi was alleged to had ran the red light and rammed into a taxi, which then hit a motorcycle – the accident left three, including Mr Ma, dead and two others injured…. try viewing this video for a refresh|

 

AXA Insurance Singapore, has now told Mr Ma Chi’s family that the crash on May 12 was a “collision” – not an accident, which obviously was to point out that Ma Chi had intended a collision rather than he having made a grievous mistake leading to the said accident. For the details please read the comments mad in the recent Asia Insurance Review, which we had captured herein (below)….

If you are aware that your action is certain to cause an accident then this is not an accident! It is just a collision or a calculated collision
This part of the writeup or except was taken from | asiainsurancereviewDispute leads to Singapore’s first such lawsuit…. The wife and mother who survive deceased Ferrari driver Ma Chi are taking the vehicle’s insurers to court after the companies say that they intend to withdraw coverage for the car crash in which Mr Ma died. The lawsuit is said to be the first such reported case in Singapore and is becoming a public interest issue as to how accidents are treated as “collisions”, under which an insurer can reject liability.

The Straits Times reported that AXA Singapore had told Mr Ma’s family that the crash on 12 May was a “collision”, not an accident. What this means in the insurance industry is that the driver was aware that his actions would cause an accident, thereby voiding the insurers’ liability to make a payout.However, Mr Ma’s family wants the High Court to reject this finding and are suing the insurers. The accident left three people, including Mr Ma, dead. He had allegedly run a red light, crashed into a taxi, which then hit a motorcycle. A pathologist’s report showed that he was not drunk at the time of the incident.

AXA first informed the Ma family of its decision last month. In the same month, the family had replied that they disagreed with AXA’s position. The insurer then responded by asking the family not to liquidate any of Mr Ma’s assets, and said the case should be arbitrated. AXA asked the family to supply a list of his other assets.

Mr Wendell Wong, lawyer for the Ma family, then filed a suit asking the High Court to rule that the crash was indeed an accident and not a “collision” as claimed by AXA. A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for next month. Mr Ma did not leave a will, but court documents show that he was covered under two insurance policies worth US$1 million and S$1.54 million (US$1.23 million) separately.

To put matters in perspectives | AXA would have to pay those claims involving bodily injury or death to those third parties affected by Mr. Ma Chi’s action – that’s in accordance to the Road Transport Act of Singapore, and for Malaysian insurers this is no difference. After AXA has completed the necessary settlement, AXA has the legal rights to pursue a claim recovery from Ma Chi’s asset, thus the reason why AXA insisting that the family not to liquidate any of those assets…. In addition, if the AXA’s contention is allowed by the courts then claims made in respect of Ma Chi’s Personal Accident policies too may likely be affected.

I do not think I have much to comment on any indepth basis at this juncture; let’s wait for further outcome as the court case takes its natural course….

Some comments from the internet buzz that touch on Accident and Collision…. something you may be interested to read | An accident is a euphemism for collision. It makes normal people feel good about their irresponsible driving habits. In reality most accidents are really collisions. Most of world’s annual traffic fatalities are the results of collisions not accidents. A traffic accident is the result of some unforeseeable condition that reasonable human effort couldn’t prevent.

For example, eventhough the tractor-trailer was inspected, the mechanic had no way of knowing that there was an internal fracture on the trucks pitman arm, the pitman arm connects to the steering box and controls the steering of the truck. No reasonable human inspection could have revealed it. As a result, the truck was driving down a crowded interstate when the pitman arm failed. The truck careened off the road and into oncoming traffic striking several cars and causing five fatalities. This is an accident. In another example, John was traveling down a twisty section of roadway in a mountainous terrains. Jane’s car suffered a mechanical breakdown on a switchback of the same roadway. Jane had no way of getting her vehicle off the roadway. Jane was putting out road flares when John entered the switchback. John was driving at the posted speed limit for the turn when he struck Jane, killing her instantly. After a full police investigation, it was determined that both Jane and John had obeyed all traffic laws. It was a simple case of bad timing. If Jane had broken down thirty seconds sooner, she would have had her road flares deployed in time for John to see them.

“A traffic accident is the result of some unforeseeable condition that reasonable human effort couldn’t prevent… a traffic collision is usually the result of human pushing it beyond an acceptable limit”

A traffic collision is something that could have been avoided with reasonable human effort. For example, Edward was driving down an interstate road. He was in a hurry and travelling at excessive speed, 140 kmph. He was thinking about his upcoming freshman year at his University. He was also talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend that would be attending another University. He was taking sips from his coffee and searching for a CD when he failed to see that traffic in front had came to a halt at exit of the highway. Failing to stop, he rear ended Sarah. Sarah also had her three children along with her. Sarah also failed to maintain a safe distance between her and the car in front of her. She also failed to continuously check her rear view mirror. Since she was the last vehicle in the stopped traffic she could have avoided the collision by checking her rear view mirror for motorists that failed to see the stopped traffic. She also failed to maintain a safe distance between her and the car in front of her. Even if she had seen Edward failing to stop, she couldn’t have done anything because the car in front of her was blocking her path. As a result, Edward, Sarah, her five children, and three other motorists were killed in the fiery crash. In another example, Dan was struck and killed by a motorist last Friday. On a routine traffic stop, another vehicle with an inattentive driver bumped the vehicle next to him at high speed causing it to sideswipe the vehicle Dan had stopped. Dan was killed instantly. 

This is the difference between collisions and accidents. Most of our traffic accidents are really collisions. I guess that it’s human’s way of guilt avoidance or that cars, despite their inherent dangers, have so commonplace that nobody even gives it a thought.

Well! That’s food for thought but let’s see what’s develop beyond.

 

 

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5 comments for “Motor Insurance Claim | Accident or Reckless Collision?

  1. mical tan
    April 28, 2013 at 22:52

    Hi, guys! Is there any development so far? Accident or collision?

  2. Andrew Wong
    November 15, 2012 at 18:51

    The point of contention to say this is a `collision’ and not an `accident’ just because the motorist beats the traffic light is unfair. If this is accepted, it will create much denial of motor claims. Such kind of contention leading to denial of claims must be supported with some sort of evidence; be it circumstantial or documented. As in Mr Ma’s case, perhaps there is sufficient evidence that at the speed he was driving (within city vicinity), he has taken a challenge to beat the light wilfully. Such action may be described as wilful act and hence, Insurer will have valid reason to deny liability. The motorist has clearly taken upon himself to drive in such an irresponsible manner where the chances of accident or collision is very great but surely it is unfair to perform such act at the expense of insurer. Hence, I’m supportive that insurer should proof its contention to deny such claim.
    However, in the case of normal driving, motorists beating the red light can arise from at least 3 situations. Situation one where the driver’s mind has temporary `float elsewhere’ and his presence of mind then was only approaching a junction. In a situation like that he was completely unaware or forgot there’s a traffic light and will just check the traffic on the road to cross to the other path of travel. Situation two will be the motorist genuinely thought he saw the light was green when it was actually red. (This does happen). Lastly, it could be a misjudgment when the light was amber but the motorist crossed alittle too late and motorists from the other side darted out the second their lights turn green. In all these situations, it is genuinely an accident which led to a collision.
    Unless wilful act, suicide act, under influence of alcohol or drugs and/or motor racing or testing has been established, any form of road collision should be interpreted as an Accident and motor claims must be honored by insurers in my humble opinion.

    • November 24, 2012 at 10:38

      Andrew, totally agree with you. If insurer wants to use collision minus the accident element then the onus of proof must be on them, and the standard of proof although on the balance of probability, it should be a lot more higher.

  3. Sing Lee
    October 7, 2012 at 20:37

    If willingly acted in such manner and to an extent expect this to occur then there is really no way to argue that this is an accident. Willingly doing it and also expecting it then it is hard to argue that it was an accident.

  4. Joe
    September 15, 2012 at 19:31

    If the courts in Singapore find for AXA then this is going to be some significant impact for malaysia motor insurance scenario. Things would change or perhaps make better drivers out of Malaysian,

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