You and the Law – 29th December 2009

Collision with a skip 

My son drove into a skip which had been left on a side road.  It was dark and the skip had no light on it.  The front wing of the car and the steering and bumper were badly damaged, but the skip hire firm denies responsibility, saying the skip had a light on it when they left it.  The builders say this is not true.  What can we do?  TF

It’s likely that your son would be held partly to blame for the collision.
It will be reckoned that he should have been driving at a speed appropriate to the conditions, which, on an unlit road, should have been slowly.

However assuming the cost of the repairs warrant it, there’s nothing to stop you making a claim for compensation.  A judge might apportion blame.  I think your claim will be against the building firm, which hired the skip and failed to make it safe for road users when they left the site.  If your son had called the police they may have taken criminal action against the builders, which would have strengthened your son’s case.  I suggest you see a solicitor.

Taking too long

I am a beneficiary of a will made by a relative who died more than 18 months ago.   The executor has appointed someone to administer the Will, who presented an initial bill for £5,000 six months ago even though it’s nowhere near being resolved. What’s the procedure for removing an executor?  AG 

You would have to issue what’s known as a “citation” through an application to the High Court.  The executor would be called on to explain his actions and any delay to the court. 

If you were successful in removing the executor the cost would be met from the estate.  Executors are allowed a year in which to wind up an estate before they become liable to the beneficiaries, but if it’s complicated the executor may be able to justify the delay.  I suggest you discuss the issues involved with a solicitor.

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