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NSW What to Do with Car Insurance After Car Accident?

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by jess jing, 22 July 2016.

  1. jess jing

    jess jing Member

    21 July 2016
    Likes Received:
    I was involved in a car accident more than six months ago, just before Christmas. What happened was I was in a parking lot at the time looking for parking. When I came to a free parking spot, I signalled left and waited behind a van blocking the spot. The driver had no signal on and I had thought that he was not going to park there.

    However, there were two ladies standing outside the van, they had made eye contact with me and indicated that the van was waiting to park in the spot. As a result, I signalled right and started to steer out in the right direction. At this moment, a 4wd passed through and collided with the front of my car. The 4wd was scratched on its back door and onwards.

    At this time, I was on my green Ps. It had been my first car accident and we had only third-party insurance. I was with my mum, but we both did not know what to do.

    The other lady and I both parked our cars and got out. The lady made sure that we were all alright and said that she just all of a sudden saw me coming out. She said she was recently just in a car accident, where the other party was at fault and just had her car fixed from the smash repairs. When exchanging details, the lady had written everything out herself, including my mum's details, her details which she had given me and also a small note which my mum signed saying we were at fault and accept full liability.

    The daughter of the lady also took pictures of both cars. Shortly after, we continued in our separate ways. About 10 mins after, the lady called me on my phone and told me not to contact the insurers yet as she wanted to go check it out with the smash repairs and see how much the damages were. We accepted.

    As time went on, I replayed the situations in my head and I realised that I was not completely at fault. I was so naive and had not been in this situation before that we did not even get her car number plate. There were so many scenarios and factors that could have caused the situation. What if she was putting all the blame on me, when really, she could be the one at fault?

    The next day we were in contact again and the lady had said that she couldn't get in contact with the smash repairs as it was holiday season and they were all off. So, she told me that the insurers should be contacted.

    About a week later, she gave me a call asking why I had not contacted the insurers yet and originally I had thought that she would contact her insurers. A week after, I received a call of a man who claims to be her smash repairs that she was in contact with. He didn't state a name or company. I asked him how much it would cost to repair it and he said that the paint job would cost about an estimate of 2000$. He then asked why I had not contacted the insurers yet, said that the lady was doing me a favour and further actions will be made if I do not contact the insurers myself.

    The next day the lady sent me a message notifying me that I had 24 hours to respond to her with a claim number that she said we initially agreed to (which I didn't, as I thought she would be contacting her own insurance). She continually states that the collision was completely my fault (which I believe is not, although at the time I did due to me being in shock). She said she has no choice but to lodge a claim through her own car insurance company, will be reporting the incident to the police as her insurance is requesting a police incident number and also handing in a witness statement to the police with wxactly what happened.

    About a week later, I receive a voicemail from a car insurance that I have never heard before and asks of me to call back. I chose to ignore it.

    Now, more than 6 months later, I received a letter from the car insurance in the mail saying that they recently couldn't get in contact with me and would like me to call back with given quote number. If not, additional correspondence will be needed.

    Avoiding the situation seems best to me before and right now as I really don't know what to do. Any help? What consequences may happen?
  2. @thelawbundle

    @thelawbundle Well-Known Member

    27 October 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hi Jess,

    From what I can make out, it seems as though the lady in the 4WD (4WD driver) was driving straight down the left-hand lane of the parking lot - and you turned into her oncoming vehicle?

    If that's the case, the 4WD driver may not be entirely faultless (she had a duty to keep a proper lookout even though it's her right of way) but in general terms, this would likely be at least 90% your fault if we're talking in terms of contributory negligence (but possibly more, given that she seems to have passed you before you drove into her).

    I assume that, initially, because the 4WD driver was previously (and recently) involved in an accident, that she wanted to avoid getting insurance companies involved if possible (because doing so would likely result in a further increase to her insurance premium, even though she wasn't to blame). It sounds as though she just wanted to sort this issue out privately, with you (which she is allowed to do). For whatever reason, that doesn't seem to have worked out.

    You then say that "she said that the insurers should be contacted". Given that you were at fault, and you have third party insurance - I would have expected you to contact your insurance company to report the damage so that they could assist the other driver with getting their car repaired. Have you still not done this? I imagine that she took the step of contacting her own insurance company because of your delay and because she needs her car fixed.

    A complicating factor which is present here is that you may have admitted liability which could impact on your own insurance cover. You will need to check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which applies to the insurance policy that you have with your insurance company to check whether or not this is the case. A saving grace for you may be that: your mum accepted liability (and not you). But it's not clear from your email whether you personally accepted liability, in writing or verbally.

    What I might consider doing now, if I were you (and assuming of course that the above facts as I've stated them are correct), is:

    - Read your PDS. Check whether or not you've voided your insurance cover;
    - Assuming that you haven't, contact your insurer and let them know about the incident (and ask them for a claim number);
    - Contact the 4WD driver (and/or her insurer who left you a voicemail) ASAP and give them your claim number, apologise for the delay (maybe explaining that this has never happened to you before - And that you have sought some advice because you weren't sure what you should be doing).

    From there, your insurance company should handle everything. When your insurance cover comes up for renewal your premium may now be higher given that you've made a claim.

    However, that is to be preferred over doing nothing. If you do nothing, the 4WD driver's insurance company will likely fix the 4WD driver's car and then instigate magistrates court proceedings against you to recover that money. You may then be liable to pay for all of the damage to the 4WD driver's car yourself (plus their legal costs).

    In summary, whilst "avoiding the situation" might seem to be your best option now - this issue is unlikely to go away, and instead, will probably get worse.

    Best wishes.
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    Sophea likes this.

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