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NSW International Student - Car Accident on Highway

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by JANE0_0, 30 September 2014.

  1. JANE0_0

    JANE0_0 Member

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    Can someone help me with this car accident situation? My friend drove the car on the highway and hit the backside of an Holden SUV at about 100km/h, the driver not injured at that time and the car can drive as well, my friend was the first time been through this, so he didn't ask the drive for the phone number and the plate number, only police told him to wait for further info.

    After one month he received a bill letter said he need to pay the driver around $16000, which including the whole car repair. He is an international student, he cannot pay that much so he called car insurance company who send the letter, they said they understand and will discuss with the insurer, but after one month, the amount change to $23000. My friend really don't know how to deal with it.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jane0_0,

    Who was the 'bill letter' from demanding $16,000? Lawyers? Insurers? Or the other driver personally?
    Is the amount they are claiming, for vehicle damage? or Personal injury to the other driver?
    Was your friend covered by insurance when he had the accident?
     
  3. JANE0_0

    JANE0_0 Member

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    Thank you for your reply. The bill is from insurance company of the other driver. The amount including vehicle damage, towing fee, car rental of the other driver and some other charged the invoice not clear, my friend not sure about it, but not including the personal injury. My friend only covered by the compulsory third party.
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    1. Ask for a copy of the police report, this will have all the information and details.
    2. Ask for a copy of the insurance report.
    3. Ask the insurance company why the bill has increased?
    4. Ask for receipts/invoices of all repairs made.
    5. Did the other driver bear any responsibility in this accident? Therefore, did the other driver pull into the freeway, was the driver changing lanes, what distance did your friend's car keep with the front car?
     
  5. JANE0_0

    JANE0_0 Member

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    Thank you for your advise. We already have all the invoices from insurance company, but the company already ask debt collection company to send letter to my friend, and also ask him to pay the money before 14th of Oct. It's a huge amount, he cannot afford it, he try to ask the insurance why he need to pay that huge amount, but the insurance company only said we already send you the invoices. We can see from the invoices, whole car repair is including in the bills not just the part my friend hit. And my friend's visa is nearly due, he can only stay in Australia for few weeks, he still don't know how to deal with this bill, and afraid the debt collection company will take further action.
     
  6. JANE0_0

    JANE0_0 Member

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    My friend said he keep safe distance with the front car, but the front slow down, so when he realised he already hit the car, and the police decide all his fault.
     
  7. Owens Lawyers

    Owens Lawyers Well-Known Member

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    @JANE0_0 I think your friend will need to see a lawyer to find out:

    1. If there is a defence to the claim,
    2. If the amount claimed is fair and reasonable.

    Under debt collection guidelines, a debt company should not continually hound someone if they dispute the debt. So your friend needs advice on whether they have to pay the debt or not.

    If it becomes clear they they were at fault and the amount claimed is fair and reasonable, then they need advice on what options they have.
     
  8. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jane,

    I agree with Owens Lawyers, the insurance company should not be referring the debt off to a debt company and should not be demanding payment by a fixed date if you have made known to them that you dispute the debt and would like to undertake further investigation. You should check that the calculations are correct and request a copy of all repair invoices and quotes. If there are any prices you believe are unreasonable, you can dispute it.

    In relation to the actual accident, if does appear to be your friend's fault. As a driver, there are many duties that one must comply with. Keeping a safe distance with the car in front is only one of these duties. The other duties include: paying care and driving with reasonable skill, reacting in time to road circumstances, stopping in time, keeping alert and eyes on the road at all times. Your friend would have breached one or more of these duties to crash into the back of the car in front. Claiming that the car in front suddenly stopped is not usually a defence to responsibility. That is why the police ruled your friend as bearing the full responsibility.

    However, have a look at the following fact sheets:

    - ICBC Claim information: Rear End Collisions
    - "Rear Ended in Traffic Incident"
    - NSW Legal Aid: Crashed Car
     

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