Reversed into vehicle of my neighbour's visitor. What are my rights?

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UNAFS

Active Member
5 March 2020
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Hi, I think I recently reversed into a car of my neighbour's relative which was parked on the street. It was my first time leaving the garage of the new property, I was in a lot of hurry and had my baby with me in the car. From all the stress I didn't even fully notice what happened when I felt a slight bump. I did not notice the car either. I had to leave for an urgent appointment, so I instinctively left and decided to check what happened later, as I really could not do it at the time. When I came back home, the other car was not there. In the evening my neighbours knocked on my door and started talking about their relative's car. I apologised and said I will pay for the damage. It was a very stressful day for me for other reasons and I just wanted for it all to finish, plus it is my first accident and I had to idea what to do at all . Neighbours said they will get a quote. One week later they turned up with a quote which seems significantly overpriced. I asked to have a look at the damage as I haven't even had a chance to look at it the day it occurred. They showed it to me. Based on the name of the repairer and the amount of damage, the quote seems to be unreasonably high, but I am not an expert. I said I will get a quote too, which they happily accepted. I brought up my concerns about their quote, and they said they will get another one. They got another quote from another premium repairer for a similar amount. They provided photos and video for me to get a quote as well, but unfortunately the repairers are not giving estimates based on photos and videos. Every single repairer asked me to bring the car to them for an estimate.

The neighbour's relatives took my email address and other contact details and emailed me the quotes asking me to transfer money into their account asap. I replied saying I am waiting to hear from my repairers and that they would need to bring the car in for a quote. They replied saying that "I am sure your repairer can give an estimate on the repairs. It is an inconvenience to bring car up there for evaluation." and "I am still upset that you did not advise that you reversed into her vehicle, that is not in the best conduct. Please advise your actions in the 2 x quotes as I do not want this to become a legal matter."

What are my rights in this situation? I literally don't know anything about my rights. I don't even know what exactly happened on that day. I felt a bump, so I verbally confirmed it was probably me and agreed to pay for the damage as it seemed to make sense at the time. I could not exit my car, check the damage, take my own photos and discuss it on the spot as I had something very urgent to attend to. I did not expect the other party to obtain such high quotes and be unwilling to bring their car to my preferred place for an estimate. In the subsequent days of living in this property I also noticed this neighbour's visitors are occupying a significant part of the street with their cars, so I am not even sure how close to my exit the other car stood that I reversed into it so easily. The other party is now threatening it will become a legal matter, and I have no idea what to do, I feel so stupid and powerless. I would be thankful for any information or advice on my situation.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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ok, so problem 1. I'm pretty sure you have a legal responsibility to stop when there is an accident.
2. you don't have insurance?
3. You have admitted fault.

I'd suggest you take the quote to a local shop and show the photos and ask does it seem fair. Now here is the thing, bloody hard to quote without seeing the car. But in my experience yup - panel beaters are bloody expensive. BTW what sort of car did you hit? to you have a tow bar?

Next - legally, oh look, this gets messy. Sure you could deny deny deny - but you've only just moved in....

Solution? hm. How does this sound - you offer to pay but you ask them to accept you get to choose where the work gets done - so long as you choose a licenced repairer. Seem fair... But - look, if the car is a European import, for example then yup it isn't gonna be cheap.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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The person with the damaged vehicle gets to choose the repairer, not you. Repairers know this and also explains why repairers you approach are not keen on putting any time into helping you.

Your rights are limited as you caused the accident.

Best handled through insurance.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Sydney
Best handled through insurance.
Agreed.

Thing is, it's pretty typical of those who ask this sort of question
that they don't have comprehensive insurance.
I sure do hope that OP comes back with "Actually, I do have insurance".
 

UNAFS

Active Member
5 March 2020
8
0
31
Thanks everyone for your responses. Unfortunately it was my husband's car and he didn't think he needs insurance. Will have one from now, so it is a lesson.

I finally got two quotes, and both are 30-40% cheaper than the quotes of the person with the damaged vehicle .

The person with the damaged vehicle emailed me yesterday pressuring me into paying the most expensive of his quotes within 48 hours, otherwise his insurance will apparently come after me on Monday. He ignored my request to bring their car to the repairer of my choice who provided a much more reasonable quote.

I have several questions in regards to this:

1. What amount will his insurance request? The exact amount of his quote, or the amount minus excess he most likely has to pay, or the amount plus some sort of penalty/admin fee? Am I financially better off paying him, or paying his insurance? I would have paid him by now but it seems like he is trying to rips me off and make me pay as much as possible.

2.What consequences can it have for me if his insurance comes after me?

3. Can I lodge a complaint to AFCA https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint about the insurance if we don't come to an agreement?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Basically the way it works is....

1. The other driver claims on their insurance.
Their insurer pays their claim (perhaps minus any excess).

2. The insurer then sues the you (that is, you personally, not hubby)
to recover their loss (ie the money they paid out in the claim).
This can happen in the name of their insured, or in their own right.
It usually starts when you receive a thing called a Letter of Demand.
That letter will say something like
"Pay us x dollars by date Y or we will take you to court".
Their insured is no longer involved. This is now between you and the insurer.

3. At this point, you go to see a lawyer of your own.
Yes, this will cost you money, and no, this is not work
for which either Legal Aid, or "No Win No Fee", applies.

4. You make an offer to settle the matter. They reject it.
You then end up in court, where you probably lose.
You receive an order to pay the insurer. And probably the insurer's costs.

5. Sadly, your husband has totally evaded liability here.
He's allowed to help you pay.
But, they can't sue him, because he wasn't the driver,
let alone the driver at fault.
 

UNAFS

Active Member
5 March 2020
8
0
31
Thanks everyone for your responses. Unfortunately it was my husband's car and he didn't think he needs insurance. Will have one from now, so it is a lesson.

I finally got two quotes, and both are 30-40% cheaper than the quotes of the person with the damaged vehicle .

The person with the damaged vehicle emailed me yesterday pressuring me into paying the most expensive of his quotes within 48 hours, otherwise his insurance will apparently come after me on Monday. He ignored my request to bring their car to the repairer of my choice who provided a much more reasonable quote.

I have several questions in regards to this:

1. What amount will his insurance request? The exact amount of his quote, or the amount minus excess he most likely has to pay, or the amount plus some sort of penalty/admin fee? Am I financially better off paying him, or paying his insurance? I would have paid him by now but it seems like he is trying to rips me off and make me pay as much as possible.

2.What consequences can it have for me if his insurance comes after me?

3. Can I lodge a complaint to AFCA https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint about the insurance if we don't come to an agreement?
Thanks for your reply.

Will the insurance go to court about any amount? The damage is rather small.

Also, will it be helpful to lodge a complaint with AFCA about their insurer if their demand is unreasonable?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Sydney
Will the insurance go to court about any amount? The damage is rather small.
Depends. In my experience, money is merciless.
Also, will it be helpful to lodge a complaint with AFCA about their insurer if their demand is unreasonable?
Not really enough detail to be able to tell.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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they will go to court over a small amount especially if you have written communication to show you admit fault. They can't lose and they can get you for costs.
 

UNAFS

Active Member
5 March 2020
8
0
31
they will go to court over a small amount especially if you have written communication to show you admit fault. They can't lose and they can get you for costs.
The other person specifically asked me to admit fault in writing, which I didn't do. I did however emailed them that I am getting a quote from a repairer. Is it enough as evidence that I admit fault?