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post #192 of (permalink) Old 1st August 2006
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Hey there Aaron,
I'm glad to read that you are still trying; but there is no way that Renault will accept fault or liability at this stage.
The drill is that they deny all charges until immediately before a case goes to court then, at that final stage, offer an out-of-court settlement. If you then don't accept their offer and a court awards you less than 20% more than their offer, you will be liable for their court costs. (There may have been developements in the ratios applied; it's been a while). They use this to pressure you to accept their offer and it is also usual to make some paltry offers of settlement in the interim. Bear in mind that there could be injuries claims lurking in the background and accepting that they are at fault would cost them millions.
Another problem is that "dead men tell no tales", meaning that if this problem has actually cost lives, as I suspect it may have, it would not be immediately discernible that the cause of the accident was a bonnet flying open at speed because the likelyhood is that the bonnet (and its catches) would be pretty mangled up.
If you can prove that the black slider (top right in your picture) of the safety catch is susceptible to deformation through temperature rise (such as engine/radiator convection, or exposure to summer heat) you will have a handy weapon to wield. I have handled a couple of catches and know that they can feel quite abrasive; this in turn suggests that they are not tolerant of their environment. Flat plastic surfaces often deform when exposed to high temperatures; the deformity will only be subtle but serious enough to cause the function to seize in an open position.

If you are dealing with them through a solicitor, you will most likely stand a better chance of grabbing their attention.

I would also apply some pressure to VOSA and threaten to take the matter to parliament via your MP. Of course ,the media (BBC Watchdog) will also be more interested if politics and politicians become involved.

Another way to force their hand is to write letters to the editors of newspapers hoping that they will publish them. A note of caution for your own safety would be to only quote instances already in the public domain (e.g. the Watchdog programme)and so you cannot be accused of libel (or cause commercial damages) by accusations made.

Expect to be bullied by their solicitors and be prepared to report any such abuse to the law society's office for the supervision of solicitors. There is a fine line that distinguishes between aggressive writing by a solicitor and abuse. The law society is empowered to fine and award in cases where their members tell you lies to cause you to drop a claim. A handy voice recorder to tape telephone conversations is also very useful to remind you in detail of what has been said to you by the representative of the organisation you are claiming against. There is a procedure involved which needs to be followed before you go there and that is to ask the solicitor to tell you the name of the firm's complaints handler; once you have that, your first move is to complain to him/her about a colleague's actions (been there, done it, got the t-shirt and the compensation).

I doubt whether VOSA are carrying out any safety or forensic testing on this case so it will be a hard slog mate and having seen your determination, I wish you luck.

You may find some of my earlier postings on this subject of some help.

Bon chance, mon ami.

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