If your vehicle is damaged as the result of an accident and you believe the other driver to be at fault you will need to establish the extent of the damages from the accident and how much it will cost to repair these damages.
- Obtain a written quote from a reputable repairer of your choice. The quote should be an itemised quote providing detail of exactly what work must be done and how much parts and labour will cost.
- Whilst only one quote is necessary it may be better to get two as the other driver may wish to have a point of comparison.
- If the quote for repairs is high and exceeds the value of your vehicle then the vehicle is not worth repairing as it is a write-off. To check on the market value of your car you can refer to The Red Book at www.redbook.com.au .
- If there is a dispute about the value of your car you will need to get an automotive valuer to provide a written report. You will also need to get a written estimate from wreckers as to what you would get for the damaged vehicle for wrecking purposes.
- In the situation where the other party is claiming that their vehicle is a write-off you may wish to obtain your own independent assessment as a comparison to that offered by the other party. However, you must seek the other party’s permission before your assessor can inspect their vehicle.
- Take photographs of the car as proof of the damage. If you have to proceed to court this will be useful evidence to have.
- You do not require the approval of the other driver to have your car repaired. However, if the matter is yet to be settled you will need to pay the repairer yourself and ask the driver to pay you. The other driver cannot insist on paying the repairer directly. If they are liable for the damage caused to your vehicle any money they owe is directly payable to you as the owner of the vehicle.
- If you cannot afford the cost of repairs and have to wait for payment from the other party you should not let the vehicle’s condition deteriorate as this will increase the cost of repairs and the other driver will not be liable for any extra costs resulting from the deterioration.
- If your vehicle is a write-off you can dispose of it but before you do you should first obtain a written estimate of its pre-accident value and its value as a wreck.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.