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Contacting the other driver or their insurance company

  1. You will need to write a letter to the other driver giving him/her notice that you believe they are responsible for the damage caused to your vehicle and how much money it will cost to repair.
  2. You do not have to get more than one quote but it is standard practice to supply two and the other driver is entitled to accept the cheaper of the quotes.
  3. If your car is a write-off, you need to provide the other driver with a copy of a valuer’s report and the wrecker’s estimate (or receipt if you have sold it).
  4. You are under no obligation to allow the other party to have a look at the vehicle but you may do so if you wish.

Note: your claim is limited to the amount required to restore the car to its pre-accident condition. You cannot claim for any other damage that was there before the accident and the other driver is entitled to require you to prove that the damage you are claiming was the result of the accident and not pre-existing damage.

How do I write a letter to the other driver/other driver’s insurance company?

It is important to write the words ‘Without Prejudice’ on the top of every letter to the other party (or their insurance company) written for the purposes of negotiating a settlement. ‘Without Prejudice’ means that any statement made in the letter about who caused the accident cannot be used as evidence in court against you unless the other party gets your consent to do so.

The letter needs to provide the following information:

  • a) The date of the accident
  • b) The make of your vehicle and its registration number
  • c) The make of the other driver’s vehicle and its registration number
  • d) The names of the road(s) or street(s) where the accident occurred
  • e) The suburb in which the accident happened
  • f) The time of day when the accident happened
  • g) The total amount of quote or valuation

Always keep a copy of any letter sent and make sure each letter is signed and dated.

SAMPLE LETTER - contacting the other driver

IMPORTANT: It is very important to remember to write the words WITHOUT PREJUDICE on the top of every letter to the other party (or their insurance company) written for the purpose of negotiating a settlement. WITHOUT PREJUDICE means that any statement that you make in the letter about who caused the accident cannot be used as evidence in court against you unless the other party obtains your consent. This is important in case the matter has to be decided in court.

Without Prejudice

Your Name

Your Address

Date

Other Person’s Name

Address

Dear

I refer to the motor vehicle accident as follows:

DATE: MY VEHICLE:

LOCATION:

SUBURB: YOUR VEHICLE:

TIME: am/pm

I consider that you are responsible for this accident and as such are liable to pay for the damage caused by the accident to my vehicle.

* Please find enclosed a copy of a quote from a crash repairer for the cost of repairs to my vehicle in the sum of $..............

* My vehicle is now a ‘write off’. Please find a copy of a valuation of my vehicle before the accident $ ………………. and an estimation of the value of my vehicle as a wreck $.......

My loss is therefore the difference between the two values which amounts to $......... .

* (Use one of the paragraphs stated above)

If you intend to claim through your insurance company, please provide me with your insurance details and please ask your insurance company to contact me regarding my claim.

If you are not covered by, or claiming on insurance, I shall expect you to pay for the damage to my vehicle.

Unless the matter is settled to my satisfaction within the next 21 days I intend to take legal action to recover this amount from you.

Yours sincerely

SAMPLE LETTER - if the other driver contacts you

Without Prejudice

Your Name

Your Address

Date

* Other Person’s Name/Insurance Company

(*one of the above)

Address

Dear

Motor Vehicle Accident

DATE: MY VEHICLE:

LOCATION:

SUBURB: YOUR VEHICLE:

TIME: am/pm

I refer to your letter dated ………………………………. regarding this accident.

I do not accept that the accident was entirely my fault. However, I am prepared to discuss a settlement in this case.

* Please find enclosed a copy of a quote from a crash repairer for the cost of repairs to my vehicle in the sum of $.........................(plus towing fee if applicable).

(OR)

* My vehicle is now a ‘write off’. Please find enclosed a copy of a valuation of my vehicle before the accident $................... and an estimation of the value of my vehicle as a wreck $................ . My loss is therefore the difference between these two values which amounts to $.............. .

* (Use one of the paragraphs stated above)

** If you intend to claim through your insurance company, please provide me with your insurance details and ask you insurance company to contact me regarding settlement of the claim.

** (Only use this paragraph if the letter you have received is from the other driver and not an insurance company)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Contacting the other driver or their insurance company  :  Last Revised: Fri Nov 23rd 2012
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.