MASTER decorator Maynard Mortimer may be forced to close his business after a drunk driver crashed into his van.
Three months after the incident, repair work has not even begun on his 2002 Vauxhall Combo and the hire van supplied free of charge is due for return.
Mr Mortimer, of Rowlands Avenue, Dalton, said: “I don’t have any options. No van, no work.’’
The 58-year-old, who has worked as a painter and decorator since leaving school 43 years ago, said: “It could send me bust. The recession has hit me badly. I can’t do without a van and I can’t afford to hire one myself.”
His nightmare began at 3pm on December 16 when drunk driver Daniel Shaw crashed into his van while he was working inside a house in Long Lane, Dalton.
Police arrested and prosecuted Shaw, of Southlands, Kirkheaton. He was given a community order for nine months and banned from driving for 32 months by Huddersfield magistrates in January for driving with excess alcohol.
According to Mr Mortimer, Shaw’s insurance company NFU Mutual has ignored repeated attempts to contact them.
As yet they have not authorised any repair work needed to the bodywork and suspension to get the Combo back on the road.
Mr Mortimer has made numerous calls to Aim Legal Expenses Insurance Services Ltd (AIM) which is dealing with the claim on his behalf. They are a legal protection company acting on behalf of Mr Mortimer’s insurers Zenith.
“I am seething,’’ he said. “I have spent absolutely loads of time on this and I am sick to death of it. The amount of paperwork is unbelievable, yet NFU haven’t done a thing since day one.”
His own insurance company, Zenith, has suggested that he should pay for the repairs on his own policy and then contest the payment. However, in the meantime Mr Mortimer would lose his no claims discount.
He added: “I should not have to fight it. I was in the customer’s house at the time. I was not involved in the accident.
“Literally seven days before the accident I had spent £500 getting my van through the MOT so I want it back.”
Mr Mortimer has jobs lined up in Brighouse and Durham, but claims he will have to cancel them if he is forced to hand back the hire van.
He added that the accident came at a bad time when business was slow, with many householders cutting costs by doing their own decorating. In addition, he said that new painting businesses were being set up by people who have been made redundant.
A spokesman for NFU Mutual insurance said: “We are not withdrawing the hire car – it is AIM that is withdrawing it.
He added: “ We always aim to pay on claims, but some cases are more complicated and take longer than others to resolve and this is one example. We are not stopping, we are still working on this claim.”
An AIM spokesman said the company was unable to comment on individual cases.