Tiny road rule detail leaves young driver $900 out of pocket following insurance claim ordeal

After months of back and forth with insurance company AAMI, the Melbourne driver has been told she was at fault for the crash that wrote off her car.

A frustrated young driver was left with a totalled car, a broken hand and $900 out of pocket after her insurance company deemed her "at fault" for a crash despite her alleging an unlicensed driver ran through a red light, smashing into her vehicle.

Izzy Singh, 27, was driving her and a friend to the local pub after work on Friday, October 13. Following the cars ahead of her after the arrow light turned green, Singh told Yahoo News Australia she was turning right onto the Princes Highway from Belgrave-Hallam Road in Victoria when all of a sudden, a car ran through its red light straight into her.

"They came at such high speed," Singh recalls of the moment her car was struck. "And, AAMI are now saying it's my fault for not giving way?"

Izzy Singh shows where her hand was broken. Right:The crash scene showing the collision between a black and silver car.. Source: Supplied
Izzy Singh broke her hand in the car crash, and her black car (pictured right) was written off in the collision. Source: Supplied

Driver of other car claims they also had a green light

Following the crash, Singh says she checked on her friend and the other driver, then found her phone in the wreckage and called the police immediately. When they turned up, they took both her and the unlicensed driver's statements — this is when Singh discovered the other driver was claiming they too had a green light.

"It was definitely a red light for them, no other car came through from her side," Sing said. "And two cars had gone before me turning right because it was a green arrow."

From there, Izzy— who has full comprehensive insurance — recalls months of "back and forth" with AAMI and the police to get her insurance claim approved, and the $900 excess paid out after her car was written off. "I was calling them every week or so," she said.

The 27-year-old has spent 'months' trying to get her excess back from AAMI. Source: Supplied
The 27-year-old (pictured) has spent 'months' trying to get her excess back from AAMI. Source: Supplied

Victoria Police told Yahoo News Casey Highway Patrol members investigated the incident, which included canvassing whether any businesses in the surrounding area had CCTV footage showing the collision but that "no CCTV or independent witnesses to the collision were located."

"Without further evidence, it was unable to be determined who was at fault so therefore no charges were laid," they said.

Lack of proof means driver is at fault, insurer claims

On Tuesday, March 26, after five months, AAMI emailed Singh to advise her she would be deemed at fault for the accident due to a lack of CCTV, pointing out Australian Road Rule number 62, which is "Giving way when turning at an intersection with traffic lights'.

Part one of the rule states "a driver turning at an intersection with traffic lights must give way", however part two stipulates that "a driver who is turning at an intersection with traffic arrows showing a green traffic arrow need not give way to an oncoming vehicle if the driver is turning in the direction indicated by the green traffic arrow".

A maps image shows the intersection where the collision occurred. A car sits at the lights in Belgrave-Hallam Road where Sing had turned from. Source: Google Earth
A Google image shows the right lane on Belgrave-Hallam Road where Singh was turning from. Source: Google Earth

Yahoo reached out to AAMI directly who confirmed its stance, stating "there were contradictory accounts by both parties in the police report, and a lack of valid evidence to hold someone fully accountable".

"In these circumstances, we then look at the accident scenario with the appropriate road rules, and in this case, it is that a driver turning at an intersection with traffic lights must give way," a spokesperson said.

However, Izzy argues the road rule AAMI is referring to is not relevant to her case since she had a green arrow — a stipulation in part two mentioned above. Yahoo has since asked AAMI for further explanation on their decision based on Izzy saying the arrow was green.

Insurer recommends dashcams

Following the ordeal, AAMI has said dashcams "are very useful in determining the person at fault in an accident if there is a dispute".

"This can help save drivers who didn’t cause the accident from having to pay an excess. In some cases dashcam footage is more valuable than witness statements, especially if it is clear and captures the direct cause of an accident."

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