If it has not been your lucky day and you have been in a motor vehicle accident caused by the fault of another driver (and you are not at fault), then there are a number of things that you should do:
- After you have taken the details of all the people involved in the accident, including names and addresses, contact numbers and registration numbers, you should contact the Police.
- If the Police won’t attend the scene of the accident, you should report the matter to the Police including details of any witnesses to the accident.
- If your vehicle is repairable, then quotes should be obtained for its repair. If your vehicle is in a holding yard then the operators of the holding yard should be able to help you obtain repair quotes.
- If the vehicle is a write-off, then a Loss Adjuster should be engaged to prepare a report as to the pre-accident value of the vehicle. By obtaining the Loss Adjuster’s report you can then sell the wreck and avoid costly storage charges if your vehicle is in a holding yard. Youcan use the Loss Adjuster’s report to prove your loss.
- A letter of demand should then be given to the other driver.
- All the letter needs to contain are words to the effect that you consider the other driver to be at fault, and that you demand payment of the amount of your loss (being either the pre-accident value less the salvage value plus the towing fees, or the repair costs plus the towing fees) and that you will allow the driver seven days to pay.
- We have attached a sample letter of demand, which you can use if you haven’t yet obtained quotes or an assessor’s report but wish to get the ball rolling immediately. In that letter you just ask for an admission of liability.
- If no payment is made or if you do not hear from the other person’s insurer, then you can either issue court proceedings in the Magistrates Court (We can assist you with this if you wish) or it may however be more cost effective to go through the Small Claims Tribunal. We would be happy to provide you with advice regarding that option as well.
- Please feel free to contact us for legal advice regarding this process as it is not uncommon for uninsured motorists or even insured motorists to delay the process so as to avoid paying the value of the damage to your vehicle or the amount of an excess.
- In certain circumstances you may be entitled to claim the cost of a hire vehicle as well. Again, you should feel free to contact us to see whether you qualify for the recovery of hire vehicle charges against the driver.
We hope these tips and hints are helpful in your travels, whether they be around town, picking up the kids or for work. It’s sometimes just important to be prepared.
There is more information about the range of services we specialise in on our website www.sinnamonlawyers.com.au