Protecting your legal and financial interests on the road

Sheen Panel Service on 1 August 2019

Road incidents can be an uncertain time for drivers. Either party will have a different view of what happened, and there are often different kinds of insurance at play. No matter what has happened, it's important that you understand your rights and responsibilities so that you can get your vehicle fixed and move on with your life.

As a rule of thumb, if you don't hold comprehensive car insurance, your vehicle will not be covered for damage. However, you will still be able to claim costs of repair and towing from the other driver, if the incident was their fault. It all boils down to what happened, and the steps you take afterwards.

If you've been an incident on the road, make Sheen Panel Service your first call. We'll get to work getting you back on the road by organising emergency towing and an accident replacement vehicle

I've been in an accident. What do I do?

car accident

If you've been involved in an incident on the road, you need to remain calm and protect yourself first and foremost. After that, you can talk to the other driver, assess the damage to your vehicle, and get on the way to having your car repaired.

Follow these steps after a minor incident on the road:

  1. Make sure everyone is safe, including your passengers.
  2. Never admit any fault. This might harm your chances of claiming.
  3. Call the police to document both sides of the story.
  4. Document all damage and get witness statements, if possible. 
  5. Request the other driver's insurance details.

You don't need to contact your compulsory third party insurer. If you don't have comprehensive car insurance, you can still get your car repaired quickly. Upload your smash to Sheen Panel Service. We can arrange emergency towing of your vehicle, and provide an accident replacement vehicle while we get to work.

What does this mean for my insurance?

Thankfully, if you're not at fault in a car accident and you don't have comprehensive car insurance, you are afforded financial protections. Always remember that insurance policies don't punish people for encountering hardships that they have not caused.

  • If the other driver has comprehensive car insurance, their insurer will pay for the repairs to your vehicle.
  • If the other driver doesn't have this kind of insurance, then they are still liable to pay for the repairs out of their own pocket.

What if the other driver doesn't want to pay up?

This is where it gets a bit tricky. If an at-fault driver refuses to pay for property damage, they are entering a legal midfield of their own. All drivers have responsibilities on the road, and nobody is exempt just because they say so.

There are three options available to you when pursuing damages against an at-fault driver.

Sending a letter of demand

A letter of demand is a no-nonsense demand for payment directed at an at-fault driver or their insurer. It's a letter that you write detailing the incident, including injuries, and repairs incurred. Provided you have the driver's contact details, delivering this letter should not be difficult.

You should include the following details in your letter of demand:

  • Your contact details
  • The contact details of the other party
  • Both registration numbers
  • A description of the incident
  • Costs of repair and quote
  • Demand for payment
  • Final date before legal action begins

Starting legal proceedings

If an at-fault driver ignores your letter of demand, you can seek more official avenues of pursuing damages. A legal professional will tell you what steps need to be taken to get you the money you deserve.

Engaging an authority on financial matters

If the other driver has comprehensive insurance, you can cut out them out all together and go straight for their insurer. Contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to lodge a dispute with the insurance company in question.

You should only engage AFCA if:

  • The damages you seek amount to less than $5,000
  • You are willing to wait for some time for the matter to be settled

What happens to my car?

car being towed

That's where we come in. Sheen Panel Service are here to help you get back on the road. Our process starts when you call us for towing. After that, we can get you a quote for the repairs, so you can start the process of claiming against the at-fault driver. We can even arrange accident replacement vehicles for you if you need.

When you get to this stage, remember two things: what's done is done, and it's not your fault. You're on your way to an equitable outcome, even if it doesn't seem that way. Although you don't have insurance, you are still entitled to what is owed to you.

We are experts at working with insurers to help get you back on the road. Upload your smash online, and we'll be in touch as soon as possible.