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damage to car while visiting the local dump! please help


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Hi, can somebody help.

I recently left our local dump and damaged my car as it grounded on the central part of the gate stop in the middle of the exit road. The damage cost me 550 euros to repair, so I wrote to the people who are responsible for all the dumps to ask for payment. They in turn spoke to their insurers who told them that I was in charge of the vehicle and should pass to either the left or the right of the gate stop, and that they were not responsible. I wrote back and said if that was the case there should be a sign telling me to do so, and that there is no sign, so they are liable!

I recieved their reply which says as per the previous letter that they are not responsible. Am I being unreasonable or have I got a case and if so how do I go about getting my money back?

best regards

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I used to sell and install electric gate systems, sometimes a raised stop is unavoidable due to levels etc but it can be minimised, usually it is just laziness on the part of the installer or a cock up by the surveyor.

Your post does not say otherwise so I assume you mean your dechetterie in France but local dump makes me uncertain of this.

Are you being unreasonable? No and if nothing else they could raise the road surface locally around it to make a ramp effect to save others from damage.

Have you got a case? Possibly but more details are needed (see below).

How do you go about getting your money back? You might not, in any case you need to be very patient and persistant, if you have legal cover on your house insurance it may help you.


Do you leave the highway to a private access read before meeting the gates or are they on the edge of the public domain?

How high does the stop protude from the highest part of the road camber? - note the bigger the camber the higher the stop will be relative to your wheels.

Is the stop central on the roadway, i.e. double gates?

If so is there sufficient space for two cars to pass through the gates at the same time, e.g. two lanes/two way traffic?

If this is the case then you could have, and in the eyes of a tribunal should have, avoided the gate stop.

I once did a service call to make a quick adjustment to some gates that I had just installed for my customer, it was a nice evening so i went in my Caterham 7 as the guy was a car nut and wanted to see it, you can guess the rest!

I was actually testing a mini camera and 12 volt VCR at the time, the impact ripped out the engine mountings and the camera showed the gearlever nearly reaching the top of the dashboard, not only did I have to repair my car but re-concrete in the gate stop.

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Hi and thanks for your reply.

Yes I live in France and meant the dechetterie. In answer to your questions:

do you leave the highway, yes

the road seems to dip in the middle hence the high gate stop but the natural flow forces you to the middle, but it is far too high and I'm sure I'm not the first as it is covered in dents/scratches.

I drive a standard focus st170 estate (rare but standard production car with standard wheels and tyres although low profile) and the stop is in the centre of the roadway for double gates.

There is sufficient space to drive either side at the same time but I was dumping building materials in a skip which is on a road adjacent to the main entrance and with a trailer very difficult to leave via the main entrance without being in the middle of the road. This is the access road for the lorries that collect the skips and they will always naturally be in the middle of the road when they leave due to to the closeness of the access road to the gates. I hope this makes sense, in other words the natural sweep from the access road always keeps you in the middle of the road as you would not be able to pull out in front of an oncoming car to enable two cars to pass each side of the gate stop.

I even got the bits from the uk as I had broken 2 lambda sensors which would have cost 400 euros here instead 180 from uk but labour was 5 hours to install and then repair exhaust/cat. Once it got to 550 euros I decided to look for payment as although I'm insured fully comp I would have to pay the first 250 euros and I don't think it was my fault.

Hope this helps but what should I do next?

best regards

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[quote user="frenchdc"]

.... I recently left our local dump......


You managed to avoid it on the way in but why not on the way out ?

Yes, imho, you are being unreasonable - the object must be a pretty high to hit the exhaust system of your car but you didn't see it or did see it but took no action to avoid it.


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I avoided it on the way in because I came off the main road which allows easy access to drive through passing on the right side but on the way out of the building material access road it naturally forces you into the middle of the road because it is too close to the gates and not easy to get to the right hand side of the entrance/exit road.

The road itself is lower in the middle by perhaps 6 inches than the edges which is why the gate stop is so high but it is not apparent until you hit it.


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I would think that the responsibility would be on you to drive with care coming in and out of the dechetterie, rather than on them to warn you of the potentential danger.

There are "experts" who will give an opinion in such insurance cases, but they need to see the situation and the damage before the car is repaired.

From our experience of insurance claims in France, I think you would be wasting your time pursuing this - put it down to experience.

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