E C Legal offers a no frills service where we act on your behalf to recover the cost of repairs and any other associated losses e.g. replacement vehicle costs from the offending party in the collision or their insurer.
Our standard level of service is based on our client being the innocent party in the collision and the offending party being insured or prepared to pay for the claim. This service is paid for by your vehicle repairer and does not include any extended consultations with our clients. E C Legal handles several hundred claims per month of these types of claims on average and we have found that personal consultations with our clients are not usually necessary. Answers to most questions are available on this website.
If, after reading this page and checking the remainder of the motor vehicle collision recovery section, you still have unanswered questions, please contact us and we will attempt to answer them and probably update this website to include them.
Before you send us the detail of the collision and we get started working on your behalf, there are some preliminary issues which you need to consider. Here they are:
Claiming on the offending party or their insurance rather than your insurance
There are a number of reasons why you and your vehicle repairer might prefer you to make a claim on the offending party’s insurance rather than your own. These include:
The ability for your vehicle repairer to complete the repairs on your behalf. Most of the major insurance companies may require you to take the vehicle to a repairer approved by them and may not allow you to have the vehicle repaired by a repairer of your choice;
Supply of a replacement vehicle. It would be unusual for your insurance company to be required to provide a replacement vehicle to you while your vehicle was off the road for repairs. The law in Australia requires the offending party to compensate you for the loss of use of your vehicle;
A better negotiating position for you and your repairer in relation to the scope of repair works to be completed. Where you’re making a claim on your own insurance, your insurance company may wish to restrict the extent of the repair works to be completed. The offending party’s insurance company will want to do the same but, for a number of reasons, your repairer will be a stronger position in dealing with the offending party’s insurer on your behalf;
No effect on your insurance premium. By making a claim on the offending party’s insurance company, there would usually be no adverse effect on your insurance premiums for the next year i.e. you keep your insurance rating;
No excess to pay. By making a claim on the offending party’s insurance company, you avoid having to pay an excess on your insurance claim – if one needs to be paid.
In the vast majority of cases, our clients will be better off making a claim on the offending party than their insurance company.
However, you need to consider your particular circumstances to make sure that making a claim on the offending party or their insurer is best for you.
E C Legal strongly recommends that our clients lodge a report of the collision with their insurance company which will allow a claim to be made at a later stage if we are unable to recovery or as otherwise necessary. This is usually done by obtaining a claim form from your insurer and completing it. Write “Report Only” in large letters on the front of the form and submit to your insurer. This will provide a safety net for you to change the report into a claim at a later stage if we are unable to recover on your behalf.
If you wish to discuss this issue in more detail, please feel free to contact one of our lawyers who will advise you. Note that the cost of any advice about the benefits of making a claim on the offending party and/or their insurance company as opposed to your insurance company, is not usually covered by the repairer and an extra charge may apply. If you request us to do so, we will also lodge the report with your insurer for a small additional fee. We will let you know if there is to be an extra charge.
Please contact your vehicle repairer if you require a hire vehicle whilst your vehicle is being repaired and ensure that we are informed if a hire vehicle is provided to you.
Your repairer will probably have a relationship with a hire vehicle company who will provide the hire vehicle to you and allow us time to recover the cost. If not, contact our office and we will refer you to a hire vehicle company.
You, your repairer or the hire vehicle provider must provide us with a copy of the hire vehicle agreement and the invoice for the hire vehicle charges. It is very important that this occurs as soon as the repairs have been completed. If we don’t receive a copy of the hire vehicle agreement and the invoice for the hire vehicle charges, we may end up settling your claim without recovering these amounts leaving you exposed to a claim for payment. It is your responsibility to make sure we know about any replacement vehicles provided to you.
E C Legal strongly recommends using a hire vehicle company that is aware of the way we work. If in doubt, talk to us about this.
The usual situation is that the cost of the hire vehicle is only recoverable from the offending party or their insurer for the period that your vehicle is off the road for repairs. The offending party or their insurer is not generally liable to pay for the time taken in negotiating a final settlement or getting the claim to a point where the repairs can be undertaken. Our clients should be very wary about using a hire vehicle for an extended period – especially where our client’s vehicle is not being repaired at the time that the hire vehicle is being used.
Please ensure that we are informed if you have any other losses e.g. personal property damaged in the collision or loss of use of income due to the inability to use the vehicle. Advise us of this at the earliest possible opportunity so that we may take steps to protect your interests.
E C Legal does not generally handle personal injury matters. If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle collision, please advise is and we will refer you to a legal firm who will be able to assist.
Instructing us to Start – Complete and Accurate Information
Please complete our claim form fully and accurately. It makes our job much harder if this is not done. Photos, diagrams, names of witnesses and any other available information all assist.
Once we have the claim form in our hands, we will get started without delay. We will confirm your instructions in writing and you can withdraw within seven days without charge if you do not wish us to proceed.
WHAT WE WILL DO
We will send a letter of demand to the offending party and their insurer (if any). We shall negotiate settlement and expect to recover the cost of repairs and any other losses that we are advised about which have been caused as a direct result of this motor vehicle collision.
If the offending party or their insurer contacts you, you should refer them directly to ourselves.
We expect to be able to settle most matters without any further involvement by you and will do so provided that we are able to obtain sufficient money to pay your repairer and any other party so that you have no further liability.
If we have difficulties recovering payment from the offending party’s insurer, we may need to issue legal proceedings against the other party, at no charge to you. We will contact you if this is needed.
If circumstances arise where we believe that recovery is not possible, we will let you know and may cease further action. Unless you instructed us in writing to proceed, there would be no cost to you.
Once we recover payment, we will pay the repairer and any other persons whose loss documents have been provided to us and are due for payment as a result of the collision e.g. rental vehicle providers, tow trucks, independent assessors.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Complete our claim form fully and accurately.
In this process of recovering payment, we will request the following:
A copy of your certificate of registration to verify ownership – please provide this to our office asap; or
In rare instances, your attendance at court (i.e. if liability is disputed or to verify that a hire vehicle was required)
If you are comprehensively insured, you should lodge a short report of the collision with your insurer. This is not a claim but is a requirement of most motor vehicle insurance policies. See the comments above about this.
If you have any doubt about any part of our involvement and what we are going to do on your behalf, please contact E C Legal as a matter of urgency.
All fees payable to us will be paid by your repairer and perhaps your hire car provider. In addition, we may seek our fees from the offending party or their insurer.
There will be no charge to you unless:
You deal directly with any person acting for the other party or their insurer, eg RACV, CGU, AAMI. You must refer all communications to us;
You have provided us with false or misleading information or fail to respond to our requests for information or request us to assist you in a manner over and above the usual manner for motor accident claims or do not accept our reasonable advice;
You withdraw your instructions to us or engage another solicitor except where there has been a denial of liability by the offending party or their insurer;
you decide not to have your vehicle repaired by the repairer who has agreed to pay our costs;
Your vehicle is a total loss and deemed not a repairable proposition. In this situation, our fee is payable by you from the amount recovered for the total loss;
you instruct us in writing to pay our costs and charges. If the unlikely circumstances arise where we may need you pay our costs and charges, we will provide further details as to our costs and seek your instructions in writing as to whether you wish to proceed.