“The differences between the drivers and the insurance companies are various,” Advocate Lusine Virabyan says. According to her often the insurance companies apply to different options and even absurd methods to evade from paying the recovery to the drivers that have a car accident. This interview with the advocate refers to the current problems with the insurance companies, notifications and the ways to reduce the traffic jams.
What problems do the drivers face during the disputes with the insurance companies?
Recently, there are very many cases when the insurance companies require drivers to refund the compensation funds back saying the drivers did not apply to them immediately. In other words, when they apply 45 minutes after the accident occurred and not half an hour later. In such cases we deal with two terms “immediately” and “at the first opportunity”, which is determined in the corresponding insurance policy certificate, the Civil Code, and the internal legal acts. However nowhere is defined what meaning of “immediately” and what that of “at the first opportunity” means. This means that each driver can define for himself which the “immediate” is. In fact we have some floating norm, which may be subject of arbitrary approach. The insurance companies at least can demonstrate integrity and bring certainty in their certificates explaining the meanings of the mentioned above terms. After all, a person can be able to have possibility three hours later, based on the fact that the phone battery is not charged. Clarification of the insurance companies is the following: not just at the time of the accident, but depending on the size of accident make a call after 20 minutes if it is not a severe case
If I understand correctly you have a similar case now.
Yes just at the moment I have one which is in the Court of Appeal. The First Instance Court rejected the Insurance Company’s claim and made a verdict in favor of the driver.
What can the drivers do to avoid such scuffles?
Actually, I do not think that the judicial act will be against the drivers if they appear in a similar situation. First of all the insurance companies need to clarify the terms. The situation and the deadlines need to be fixed. On the other hands the citizens are always thrown into a trap because this provoking term could always be disputed e3ven if the driver has made a call to the insurance company after 10 minutes.
Last year, the topic for discussions was the circumstance that the traffic police should quickly react to the fact of the accident and the drivers should not have to wait until the arrival of the insurance company’s agent, free the road sector to avoid from creating traffic jams. Do you think such a solution is possible, in terms of reducing traffic jams?
If the mere objective is to reduce jams, then then the insurance companies can work more efficiently in future, so that the drivers shall not have problems, because in case of registration of the fact of accident by the traffic police, nevertheless the insurance company shall definitely find a reason (problem) so that not to transfer money to the driver. Her we should mind that the insurance companies are commercial organizations that have been established for the purpose to obtain profit, and naturally they have to work in-line with their profit.
Very often, in social networks different individuals complaint that their accounts have been banned without proper notification. Have you dealt with such cases?
First of all, since last year the Traffic Police do not notify the drivers any longer that they have an administrative act, as there was an amendment referring to Compulsory Enforcement Service.
Do you mean establishment of “Azdarar” system?
Yes. However not all the drivers follow this system, and neither can we oblige all of them to check it on everyday basis.
I have talked to relevant officials of the Road Police about this issue. They claimed that the drivers who change their residence and registration shall undertake corresponding steps and inform the local administrative bodies, to avoid having returned notification letters.
Let’s imagine a situation, the driver has a fine, corresponding administrative act, which has been referred to the compulsory service, the latter has banned the driver’s accounts, the driver suffered a lot of damages. In fact the ban is not imposed for example on the amount of 5000 AMD but it is imposed on the whole account. Often there are cases when the driver has taken the credit and should refund it, but he is not able to withdraw money from his account, and thus new penalties come, and so on. After that the driver receives a notification and is able to appeal. However the process in the Administrative Court lasts for months and sometimes even more than a year. Can you imagine, the way that the driver passes and the delays/scuffles he face and the losses he suffer. So what is the result, the Road Police does not carry out an interim proceeding and as a result the driver suffers.
Interview: Gevorg Tosunyan
Photos: Aleksander Sargsyan