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March 2, 2021

Insurer finally coughs up for family left homeless after car destroyed their house

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A Newrybar family which was left homeless when a car ploughed into their tiny house in the middle of the night has finally secured a settlement from the driver’s CTP insurer.

The Scholtens family received a huge shock when the driver plowed into their home at 2am on October 8, 2017.

The Scholtens’ family’s tiny home before it was destroyed in an accident. Image supplied

Remarkably, they were unharmed but found themselves with nowhere to live. They had only lived in the tiny house for about two years on a friend’s property after buying it in Dubbo and renovating it.

After a long battle with the driver’s CTP insurer, they  have finally received a settlement and might use the compensation to buy a new tiny house.

‘The insurance company were so stuck on their view that we weren’t physically injured,’ Reilly Scholtens said.

‘They paid for the treatment initially but wanted to come up with avenues to get out of their liability for the claim.

‘We had a medical legal assessment done by the insurer and by the law firm. Those two different doctor’s reports both agreed that Sebastiaan met the exact same percentage of whole person injury. Then the insurer said they would not accept either report. They chose to ignore their own report. We are very grateful to have reached a settlement.’

The Scholtens family now have an important road safety message for drivers this holiday period, who might not think their risky behaviour and poor decisions on the road will have consequences.

‘Keep your eyes on the road, don’t drive tired and don’t drive intoxicated,’ Sebastiaan Scholtens said.

‘We absolutely loved living there. It was just the three of us but it functioned really well for us. The impact woke me up on the night and I heard my daughter screaming and I thought she had been hurt.

‘That really scared me. She had been half asleep and heard the car veering off the road. I ran across broken glass to where she slept on the other side of the house and thankfully she was OK.

‘The driver had hit the middle of the house, the car hit the structure and bounced off again. It destroyed the middle of the house.

Mr Scholtens said the driver who was intoxicated, was fine but still groggy.

‘It was quite surreal, it was not fun. The problem for us was if an accident like this happens at 2am, you go to hospital or go home but we were instantly homeless with nowhere to go,” he said.

‘The whole house was knocked off its stabilisers so it was quite dangerous.’

Their daughter Lily was being home-schooled, so it felt as though their lives had been turned upside down.

‘The impact on your life is phenomenal,’ Ms Scholtens said.

Slater and Gordon Lismore Principal Lawyer Josh McKay said the family could finally relax after two years of uncertainty.

‘Road safety and paying attention on the road at this time of year is really important,’ he said.

‘If you are planning on drinking on a night out, please ensure you make plans to get home safely. Make sure there is a designated driver who doesn’t consume alcohol or arrange for a taxi.’


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3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s my experience that insurers will go to any length to avoid a payout. They are a seriously parasitic industry that needs far tighter regulation and oversight.

    NEVER take No for an answer to an insurance claim. Insurers will argue, and even bully you with threats of lawsuits, hoping to make you give in; they will try to move responsibility and liability to the claimant, but if one holds out against them and calls their bluff they will often buckle and cough up. In the long run (and it can be a very long run) it’s less expensive for an insurer to pay out than to keep fighting. In the end they will pay up to shut you up.

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