Tourist promises to pay for smashed motorcycle

March 23, 2015 | By More


Court House-general2Insurance policy details have spelt an even bigger disaster for a German tourist who crashed head-on into a motorcyclist on the West Coast when she crossed the white line of State Highway 6 10 days ago.

Although 26-year-old Franziska Ehret had insurance for her driving holiday around New Zealand in a camper van, the company said last week that the policy would not cover the cost of the accident because she had committed an offence.

The judge in court when she appeared last week said he was amazed that a policy would rule out payment because of an offence, since people took out insurance to protect against their own mistakes. He remanded the case to today to have the insurance situation checked.

Ehret, a social work student who was in New Zealand on holiday, appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Friday and admitted a charge of careless driving causing injury in the crash near Punakaiki. The local man riding the motorcycle she struck suffered broken bones, and his $13,700 motorcycle is being written off.

He had only third-party insurance on the machine which meant the motorcycle itself was not insured. The court has now accepted Ehret’s offer to pay for the damage.

Defence counsel David Goldwater said Ehret believed she was paying $27 a day to be insured. Judge Geoffrey Ellis said at her sentencing today that he had seen the “exclusion clause” in her contract.

He had also seen Mr Goldwater’s suggestion that the clause might be challenged in a civil court.

Judge Ellis noted that Ehret wished to return to Germany as soon as possible to attend her grandmother’s funeral and she should be allowed to do so.

He noted that she wished to act honorably towards the man she had injured, having caused the loss of his motorcycle.

He accepted Ehret’s offer to pay $2000 immediately – before she left New Zealand – to the rider for emotional harm reparations. He also disqualified her from driving for the mandatory period of six months.

But he said he did not believe he could make a reparation order for the cost of the motorcycle that would be enforceable in another country. Making the order would also affect her ability to leave the country.

“The court accepts your offer to pay reparation of $13,700 and I accept your indication that the sum will be paid by instalments when you have returned to Germany,” said Judge Ellis. “I have accepted your word, and New Zealand and the victim trust you to abide by it.”



Category: Focus

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