VIC Disputing costs of accident repairs

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by James_M_42, 9 August 2018.

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  1. James_M_42

    James_M_42 Member

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    Hello,

    I was in an accident riding my bike, and failed to notice the car in front of me had stopped. I hit his rear. I understand that the accident is my fault and I need to pay for the repairs. The impact was barely noticeable and took a few minutes for us to even find the tiny scratch from the accident.

    In dealing with the car owner's insurance company though, they went ahead and repaired the car without letting me know anything replacing the entire panel of the car, and have sent a letter of demand for the repairs.

    Along with this, they have sent pictures of the car highlighting damage that was not caused by the accident - the scratches in the close-ups couldn't possibly be caused by a bike in any way.

    The letter they sent with the demand indicated I had 14 days to respond.

    I responded the following day via email, disputing the costs of repairs and asked for justification why the whole panel needed to be replaced for a single scratch in the accident.

    9 days pass, and they call me saying they have "assessed" it, and have sent a Final Letter of Demand for immediate payment claiming I didn't respond to them.

    I feel like I'm the only one here trying to be reasonable. The car owner just seems to want to get away with fixing the damage to his car at my expense, and his insurance company are stonewalling me.

    What avenues do I have here to dispute the claim? Am I able to pay the costs and then continue the dispute to a refund if the cost of repairs is found to be unreasonable?

    Regards,
    James M.
     
  2. Zerojay

    Zerojay Well-Known Member

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    Hi James,

    If you have home insurance for house and/or contents, I suggest you check with your insurance company or read the PDS to see what assistance they can provide.
    Home buildings cover usually includes your liability for incidents at the home and contents cover usually includes your liability for incidents away from the home, within Australia. Liability arising from use of a vehicle is excluded from cover but most policies now specifically include liability arising from use of a bicycle. So you may be able to claim on your home contents insurer and let them sort it out with the car owner’s insurer.

    Otherwise your home policy should include, as an additional benefit, cover for legal costs to defend action the car insurer may instigate against you. In other words if you have to pay court costs and your solicitor’s fees. Again check your policy or make enquiry with your insurer.
     
  3. Adam1user

    Adam1user Well-Known Member

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    When you say "bike", do you mean push bike or motor bike?
    Did you take pictures after the accident? you know mobiles have great cameras now.
    If you did take pictures, they could help, just keep in mind that sometimes there is internal damage which is not visible. So it could be that there was that damage which you both did not see.
    As you have not mentioned, it is hard to determine, so it depends on the speed you were at when you had the accident.
     
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