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Balmer v Jappe, Truro County Court, 12 May 2004

2 June 2004
The issues

Credit Hire – Failure to Mitigate – Failure to Accept Write Off Offer – Unreasonable Hire Rates

The facts

The Claimant was involved in a road traffic accident with the Defendant on 5th July 2002 in Camborne. The Claimant said her vehicle, a Maestro, had been rendered unroadworthy as a result. Liability was admitted on 24th July 2002.

The Claimant lived in a Cornish village not serviced by a regular bus service and she did not have a second car or access to one. Helphire provided her with a Group C/D hire vehicle at a daily rate of £30.58 for a total of 32 days. The Claimant claimed £1,562.75 in respect of hire charges plus interest.

On 23rd July 2002 following an engineer’s assessment an offer was made to the Claimant with a write off value of the vehicle in the sum of £550.00. The Claimant did not accept the offer but chose for her vehicle to be repaired at a cost of £554.00. The Defendant argued that the Claimant had acted unreasonably and that the hire rates were unreasonably high.

The decision

1. The Claimant had failed to mitigate. The hire period would be allowed until 1st August 2002 to allow time for notional repairs to be completed.

2. The Defendant’s rates that had been submitted were more reasonable than the rates claimed by Helphire. A rate of £24.44 which was the Defendant’s rate would be allowed clearly in the absence of any steps taken by the Claimant to challenge this evidence notwithstanding that it had been pleaded in the Defence. Judgment in the sum of £562.12 plus £160.00 in respect of fixed costs in view of the fact that an offer

of £650.00 had been put by the Defendant no further costs including any witness expenses incurred would be allowed.

Comments

For further information please contact Kate Winston of Veitch Penny at katewinston@veitchpenny.co.uk

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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