Motor Vehicle Property Damage claims

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, and have suffered substantial damage to your vehicle and personal property within the vehicle, then we can help.

There various different scenarios when you have sustained damage to your vehicle.

Scenarios

  1. You have comprehensive or property damage insurance

You should contact your insurance company immediately with the details of the accident. The insurer will arrange for your vehicle to be assessed and repaired. The insurer will make a claim against the “at fault” party directly.

If you are unsure what to do, please contact us and we are happy to give you ten minutes advice for free.


  1. The “at fault” vehicle has comprehensive or third party property damage insurance

Where the insurer is unknown for the “at fault” vehicle then a demand letter must be sent directly to the “at fault” party. This demand letter will usually prompt the “at fault” party to contact their insurer.

Where the insurer is known then the demand letter should be forwarded directly to the insurer. The insurer will then arrange for your vehicle to be assessed by a loss assessor. The procedure will then be relatively straight from this point on.

If you require assistance with sending a demand letter to the insurer, please contact us.


  1. Neither You nor the “at fault” vehicle has insurance to cover the damage to your vehicle.

A demand letter will need to be sent to the “at fault” party for either payment of repairs or the value of the vehicle. If a reply is not received from the “at fault” party or they deny liability then you will need to decide whether or not you wish to bring proceedings against the “at fault” party.

When deciding whether or not to bring an action in the Court/Tribunal, the following must be considered:

  • Are you prepared to take the proceeding to trial. Bear in mind if you lose the case you may be ordered to pay the costs of the other person and/or it may adversely affect any other claim you may have including a personal injury claim;
  • Whether the “at fault” party is financially able to pay you if you win.
    • Please contact us for a tailored personal quote and advice if you require assistance with this.

 

Facts and Tips

  1. What can you claim from a property damage claim?

You can claim for repairs or the value of your motor vehicle, any damage to any other property that was destroyed in the accident (this in the past has included items such as camera equipment, vacuum cleaner etc in the boot of a car), towing and storage fees.

If you have baby seats in the vehicle at the time of the accident, these must be replaced so please ensure you claim for this.

Please Note: if your vehicle is being repaired, ensure that the company repairing your vehicle checks your seatbelts for wear and tear and replace them if required.


  1. Time Limit

The time limit is six years from the date of the accident but the claim should be made sooner rather than later.


  1. Who is the claim against?

The claim is made against the person who was the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident. This will usually be the owner of the vehicle but sometimes it is not – sometimes the insurer can get this wrong.


  1. Will it affect any other claim I may have?

Technically, a property damage claim should not affect a personal injury claim but the CTP Insurer will use the property damage claim if liability is in dispute.

If liability for the personal injury claim is in dispute and a property damage claim is brought in the Court, then any decision made for the property damage claim may ultimately affect the personal injury claim.

In this instance it is suggested that an insurer for property damage refrains from pursuing you and/or commencing proceedings until your personal injury claim has taken its course.

If the insurer does commence proceedings, an Application should be made to the Court for the proceedings to be stayed until completion of the personal injury claim. Hawira v Suncorp Metway Insurance Ltd [2007] QSC 158.


  1. What documents do you need for your property damage claim?

A quote (no legal requirement as to how many but two is fair and reasonable) for the repairs to the vehicle or if vehicle is written off then a statement from a repairer to state that the cost of the repairs is more than the value of the car. If the car is written off then a valuation of car as it was at the time of the accident needs to be obtained.

Receipts for towing and/or storage

Proof of ownership (including receipts) and value of any personal property that was damage as a result of the accident and is being claimed for.