The service is provided by E C Legal which acts on behalf of the vehicle owner in making a claim against the offending party or their insurer.
THE REFERRAL PROCESS
Getting started is easy. The Motor Vehicle Claim Instruction Form needs to be completed and signed by the vehicle owner. Get as much information as possible onto that form. The more there is, the easier it will be for us to make a quick recovery.
It is essential that the owner of the vehicle or an authorised representative of the owner of the vehicle signs the form. A copy of the registration papers should be provided to ensure that we have the correct name for the legal owner of the vehicle.
Once this is received at our office, a file is created in the E C Legal system and demands are made of the offending party or their insurer. We expect this to occur within 24 hours of the receipt of the completed Instruction Form. In most cases, this will happen within 2 hours.
E C Legal will make a brief contact with the client to confirm receipt of instructions and give them comfort that we are on the job. We will tell them that the matters usually proceed without any need for them to be involved further. We may ask them to notify their insurer as a report only. This will assist our client and the repairer to obtain prompt payment in the event that a recovery from the offending party is not possible.
If the offending party is insured, we would normally receive an admission of liability from the offending party’s insurer. As soon as this admission of liability is received, we will advise the repairer who can prepare the quotation and arrange for an inspection by an independent assessor who will attend your workshop and make a report as to the fair and reasonable cost of repairs. The assessor will forward the report and his images to our office.
At this time, our referring repairer may commence repairs and, about a week before the repairs are expected to be finished, the repairer should advise us so that we can organise an inspection by the offending party’s insurance company. E C Legal recommends that there are clear arrangements between the repairer and our client about the repair process. A written repair agreement is preferable.
When the job is finished, a copy of the final repair invoice needs to be provided to E C Legal.
If there has been a rental vehicle provided, a copy of the rental contract and the final rental vehicle invoice also needs to be provided to us.
We will then make a demand for payment on the offending party’s insurer. All monies received by way of settlement are received into the E C Legal trust account and disbursed after allowing three days for clearance of the funds.
E C Legal will advise our referring repairers of any offers that are made by the offending party or their insurance company to settle the cost of repairs. In doing so, it is our understanding that the arrangement between our referring repairers and our clients is that the referring repairer may choose to accept a lesser amount than the amount fixed by our independent assessor. If the referring repairer does accept a lesser amount, this is on the basis that no further amount is payable by our client.
Negotiations with an insurer can increase the length of time it may take to settle a matter.
A similar process extends to any rental vehicle companies.
If our referring repairers are not happy to accept the amounts offered or the offending party’s insurer does not pay, the only real alternative is to authorise E C Legal to commence legal proceedings against the offending party on behalf of our client.
Where the offending party’s insurer offers less that the full amount sought, we always ask to see a copy of their assessment report. This does not have to be provided unless legal proceedings are underway and some insurance claims officers will not provide it. For this reason, we recommend to our referring repairers that they attempt to obtain agreement with the offending party’s assessor as to what his report will say.
E C Legal will provide progress reports by email on a case by case basis. This will be done by providing copies of correspondence to and from offending parties or their insurers and other people involved in the claim e.g. hire car companies, independent assessors etc. No additional explanations will usually be provided.
E C Legal prefer not to provide progress reports as a separate exercise and may charge a fee of $10.00 per report in situations where a progress report has been provided within the last two weeks.
E C LEGAL FEES
E C Legal will charge our referring repairers a fixed fee for recovery of the cost of repairs- usually $440 inclusive of GST.
E C Legal may charge an additional amount for recovery of rental vehicle expenses.
E C Legal will charge an additional amount for recovery of loss of use expenses.
The usual additional amounts are:
- $110 inclusive of GST where the rental vehicle company is associated with our referring repairer;
- $440 inclusive of GST for other rental vehicle companies;
- $330 inclusive of GST for taxi loss of use claims;
- $550 inclusive of GST for specialised loss of use claims such as truck or business losses.
E C Legal may charge a fee of $10.00 per report in situations where a progress report has been provided within the last two weeks.
The fixed fees are provided on the basis that all the usual information is provided by our client on the Motor Claim Instructions form and that the information provided is correct. Where details of the offending party are not provided in sufficient detail or are incorrect, E C Legal may make an additional charge.
The above charges will be payable only when there is a recovery or if our referring repairer directs us not to continue once we have commenced work and have received an acknowledgment of liability from the offending party or their insurer.
Our referring repairers authorise payment of the E C Legal charges by deduction from any amounts recovered for the cost of repairs payable to our referring repairers.
There is a limit to how far we can go in the process for the fixed fees as above. When we get to that limit, our staff members will contact you to discuss possible options including commencing legal proceedings.
E C Legal may receive an amount of between $50 and $300 from the offending party or their insurance company as a contribution to the legal costs of the claim. This amount is designed to provide an incentive for E C Legal not to issue proceedings at a very early stage and allow the offending party’s insurance company time to attempt a negotiated settlement.
Where our referring repairers request E C Legal to commence legal proceedings on behalf of our client, E C Legal will continue working on a no recovery no charge basis provided that:
- The offending party has indemnity from their insurance company;
- The referring repairer indemnifies our client from any adverse costs orders;
- Liability is admitted in the claim;
- Our client assists in the litigation;
- Our referring repairer provides all necessary documents without delay;
- Where the claim is under $10,000, an additional fee of $1,000 + GST will apply. This is because the amount recoverable from the other party to the litigation is capped.
If any of the above conditions are not met, E C Legal may seek payment of the legal costs from our referring repairer.
There are some important points to remember when legal proceedings start:
- Our client will need to be the owner of the vehicle and may be required to attend court (especially if there is a rental vehicle or loss of use claim);
- E C Legal will refer offers to settle the cost of repairs to our referring repairer. If an offer is not accepted and the court awards less than the offer, the other party’s legal costs may be deducted from any settlement amount;
- Our referring repairer will accept any amount awarded for the cost of repairs either by court order or by settlement less any applicable legal costs or other deductions in full and final settlement of all amounts due to you by our client.
OUR STAFF MEMBERS
E C Legal will assign one or more of our staff members to be the principal point of contact for your referred matters. This person may not be a lawyer but will have access to legally qualified personnel as required.
The lawyer in charge of the motor recoveries area is Sally Pottenger who is a Senior Associate of E C Legal.
A condition of our engagement is that you must not make any payments or inducements to our staff members without the approval of the Legal Director or CEO of E C Legal. Promising to reward our staff members directly for their service is strictly prohibited.