Back to Tips Index | Real-life Claims
Our client, a new driver, picked up a "trampist" on the way back to Efrat. She completed her good deed by letting him off near his home (which also happened to be immediately after a traffic circle). An approaching car, while carefully entering the traffic circle, did not notice that she had stopped and rear-ended her. Usually, the classic retort is that the car at the back should have kept a safe distance, but there is also some negligence on our client’s part here.
Our client was making chips for her kids and was heating the oil. Suddenly, she realized that she was late to fetch them from Gan and she raced out, forgetting totally about the bubbling oil. The result – a fire in the kitchen and a 20,000 NIS claim.
Again, the negligence factor.
In both of these cases, the insurance companies concerned are not paying out in full, due to excessive negligence on the part of our client.
However, many insurance claims are due to negligence (e.g. most motor accidents and many household claims) so why are these cases different?
There is something called contributory negligence. This basically means that the negligence is more than a simple mistake or misjudgment, but is something that a normal person would not do.
Mrs. S. G. sued the municipality of Bat Yam. She had complained about a loose manhole cover outside her front door. The municipality did not take care of it and one day, Mrs. S. G. trod on the cover and fell into the hole!
Judge Asher Goldin upheld her claim against the municipality in that
they were indeed responsible, but he also reduced the claim by 30%. In
his judgment, he pointed out that any normal person would not rely on
phone calls alone.
In the case of a faulty manhole right outside one’s door, one would place some physical barrier there as well. This, in his words, was a case of contributory negligence.
In other words, you can make a mistake, but don’t be a fool!