What to do if you have a car accident and you need to claim. A step-by-step guide. ￼
June 21, 2023
Accidents happen! That’s why we have motor vehicle insurance!
In the event of a car accident with another party, it is easy to become overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.
If you are in an accident with another vehicle, and where it is safe to do so, we highly recommend following these steps:
- If anyone is injured or there is serious damage or danger, call 000.
- If safe to do so, move your vehicle to a safe and secure location so that you can exchange details.
- Obtain the details of any other drivers involved, including their name, address, phone number, vehicle registration numbers, and insurance details (if they know it).
- If the other party refuses, you feel unsafe, or they appear to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, call the police.
- Ask any witnesses for their names and contact details.
- If it’s practical and safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene and damaged vehicles.
- Do not admit fault or liability: That will be determined in due course.
- Call Rivers Insurance Brokers and speak with our wonderful claims team
If you are deemed not at fault and you supply all the other parties’ information and the other party does not dispute the circumstances, some vehicle Insurance policies allow waiver of excesses for particular vehicles.
If the insurer is unable to initially waive your excess, supply of all of the other parties’ information will assist with seeking reimbursement of incurred costs against the third party. The insurer may refund your excess if successful.
Please note that QLD Police reports may not include personal information of the parties involved however, may contain the following details:
- incident scene and event
- crash description
- unit details
- towed vehicles
- damaged property; and
- victim and version statements.
QLD Police personnel are not permitted to access, record or disclose an individual’s personal information except in the performance of their duties or in specific situations permitted by law. So where safe to do so it is always best to ensure you have collected the third party’s information.
How fault is determined?
Other than a driver admitting liability, insurers rely on evidence to determine who is at fault in a vehicle accident. Examples include photos, dashcam footage, independent eyewitness accounts, CCTV, physical proof, the Australian Road Rules, police reports, etc.
Figuring out who is at fault can be straightforward. If someone rear-ends your vehicle, for example, they generally will be deemed at fault. In other scenarios, the at-fault driver is less obvious and more than one driver may have contributed to being at fault.
Another less common scenario is when there are extenuating circumstances where it may be determined that no one is at fault (i.e. Medical episode)
Do you have to pay an excess?
If the accident was not your fault, you can provide the above information and the third party doesn’t dispute liability some policies allow for waiver of your policy excess. If it cannot be determined who is at fault or the third-party disputes liability, you will need to arrange payment of your policy excess.
What if there’s a dispute?
If there’s a dispute over who caused the accident, the insurer may ask you for some more details about what happened. (i.e. Diagrams, photos or further available evidence).
The insurer will, on your behalf, try to resolve the dispute with the third party’s insurer or the third party themselves. Most contested claims are settled by negotiation between your insurer and the third party/insurer. In the unlikely event, a claim goes to court, you may be asked to testify.
What if the damage to your car is only minor?
Regardless of blame, if the damage to your car and the other person’s car is only minor, it’s up to the individual to decide whether to lodge a claim with your respective insurers.
Unsure about whether to claim? Contact Rivers Insurance brokers and we can assist
you to make an informed decision.
If you have been contacted by the other driver or insurer – what should I do?
Let’s say that you and another driver reverse into one another in a car park. The damage would cost less than your excess/es to fix, so you both agree to not take it further.
However, out of the blue, the other party proceeds to lodge a claim against you for damages.
If the other party sends you a letter of demand or you receive a court-issued statement of claim, contact Rivers Insurance Brokers immediately and we’ll handle it for you.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured and you are covered under your policy, your insurer will pay your repair and other accepted claimed costs and then try to recover them from the other party.
In other words, other than payment of your applicable policy excess, you won’t be disadvantaged by the other driver’s lack of cover.
What if the car accident was partly your fault?
Sometimes two (or more) parties can share responsibility for a car accident.
For instance, if you and another driver hit each other while simultaneously changing lanes on a multi-lane road, both of you may be deemed equally at fault.
Determining the extent of ‘contributory negligence’ is subjective and dependent on the evidence.
In these cases, and assuming your car is comprehensively insured, the insurer will negotiate with the third party’s insurer or, if they are uninsured, the third party themselves, to arrive at a mutually satisfactory percentage-of-fault split (e.g., 50:50 or each bear own costs).
The claim costs are then apportioned accordingly (you’ll also need to pay the applicable excess/es).
In the unlikely event these negotiations fail, and the matter goes to court, the percentage-of-fault split will be determined by a judge.
What if the car accident was completely my fault?
That’s OK – accidents happen.
Simply lodge your claim with Rivers Insurance Brokers, arrange payment of the applicable excess/es, and the insurer will negotiate and settle the claim with the other party’s insurer or, the other party if they are uninsured or don’t wish to claim with their insurer.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Rivers Insurance brokers and we would be happy to assist!