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[VIC] Accident. Please help me.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by blackwing, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. All,

    Please I need advise on what to do.

    About couple months ago I had an accident in eastern freeway. I was riding on the most right lane then all of the sudden a car (Car X) changing into my lane. I was able to avoid this car, but after that I lost my balance, my front wheel slipped and the bike fell. Upon falling down my bike hit a car (Car Y) in the front, hit the bumper. However the impact on Car Y was very mild. I hardly saw any damage on the bumper, but the driver said that the impact caused a little scratch on the bumper and it also got bend in a little bit. I rubbed on the area that he said got bend in and I felt it. The driver of Car X was sobbing and said that it was her first time driving on freeway.

    And so, we exchanged particulars. We decided not to call the police on the spot because the driver of Car X said we can solve this problem personally. So, I believed her. The next day I called on her mobile phone and she didn't answer. The driver of Car Y also didn't get any answer from her. The insurance company of Car Y also didn't get any answer. On that same day I reported the matter to the police. The police also didn't get any answer. The police said they will keep trying to contact her and send somebody to her house if need to.

    A few days later the driver of Car Y became impatience, decided that I'm at fault, and pushed his insurance company to make me pay for the little damage on his bumper. I explained the insurance company that it wasn't my fault. The accident simply happened because Car X was changing lane carelessly. The agent didn't care about what Car X was doing, what they care about was that I damaged his client's bumper. So, for the last time I told the agent that I refused to be put at fault. This was in December last year.

    Until today, I haven't got any feedback from the police. The report isn't done I'm sure. And I'm pretty sure the police still can't contact the driver of Car X.

    Yesterday I got a letter from ARMS Global Pty acting as debt collector on behalf of the insurance company of Car Y. Forcing me to pay $1,557. With the letter they attached the invoice from the workshop. The driver of Car Y said that his bumper got a little scratch and bend in a little bit. But the invoice has two pages, listing about 40-50 items. They don't have police report.

    What should I do on this matter? Help anyone?

  2. You almost certainly need legal help. Rule one of all accidents - Write down and put in a safe place the name, address, licence no, vehicle details and insurer of everyone involved. Rule 2 is do the same for every witness.

    Did you get as far as making a report to the police at the time (ie. sign anything?) Got a copy?
  3. Hire a solicitor, dude. Now.

    Regarding the damage to your bike and gear (I assume there is damage), give the rego of car X to your lawyer, and your lawyer will go down to VicRoads, find out to whom and where the vehicle is registered, and send a letter of demand to her address saying if you don't pay $x by this date, we'll commence legal proceedings. This will force her to start communicating.

    Don't bother disputing the amount for the repairs to car Y. If the panel beater had to take the bumper off, beat it straight again, respray the bumper, and put it back on again, then that figure sounds about right. But this is irrelevant, seeing you're not responsible for it. If the debt collector wants to sue you for the cost of the repairs, your lawyer will simply join Mrs X as a co-defendant. If she doesn't pay up, then the case will go to court and the magistrate will sort the whole thing out.

    Also, phone up the Police and ask what's taking so long and what the ETA is on the police report.

    Bottom line, hire a solicitor.
  4. I have the driver's licence no and rego.

    The police only took my statement and didn't ask me to sign anything. The only reason I didn't get legal advise is because of my work. It's very busy. I can imagine taking such action will consume lots of time. I'm afraid that it will affect badly on my performance.

    What happened if I ignore the letter?

    How much will the lawyer cost be?

    I fixed all the damage on my bike a long time ago after strongly sensing that Mrs. X will not be responsible.

    I even forgot about this accident until receiving the letter from ARMS.
  5. IIRC, Vicroads will only give the owners details to the police (if they choose to pursue it). You need a copy of the police report to do anything, so go get one.
    A solicitor will probably give you a rundown of costs before you commit, but pray it doesn't go to court. Hope that an appropriately worded letter gets Car Y off your back. It's going to cost you a coupla hundred at the very least from this point.
    FFS, get the address and everything else out of the culprit next time, no matter how co-operative they are at the time. A licence no. and rego is no good at all unless the police attend.
  6. Pay the $1500 and put it down to one of lifes experiences.

    Decent legal advice is going to cost the same as paying the repair bill and will cost much more if it ends up in court. If it does end up in court there's no guarantee you will win. You have admitted hitting car Y so they would have a pretty strong case.

    Insurance companies have got offices full of lawyers sitting around waiting for people in your position. They can afford to keep you in the court sytem for as long as is required and they will make an example of you even for $1500. Insurance companies will always go after the easiest target and in this case thats you.

    Pay it, move on and take precautions so your not put in this situation again.
  7. Next time, if someone else on the road causes you to take evasive action, consider them 100% responsible for all the consequences that follow until you regain control of the motorcycle, or you come to a stop. The fact that Mrs X drives a larger vehicle than yours, sobbed on the scene, and would not return phone calls does not change for a moment her legal responsibility which can be enforced in a court of law.

    The important thing to remember is that if you settle a legal dispute out of court, the status quo is that the loser pays 100% of the winner's legal costs. If you take the matter to court, the magistrate will normally make an order that the loser pays the winner's legal costs, according to what the court thinks is fair value for those costs. This will normally cover 60-75% of your actual legal costs.

    Some lawyers give an initial consultation for free, some charge $100-200. Either way, go and talk to one, explain your situation, and get them to outline your chances of success and costs involved at each stage. What will most likely happen is that when Mrs X starts receiving letters of demand on a lawyer's letter head with the threat of court action, she will either pay up or hire a solicitor who advises her how much court would cost and she pays up.

    Regarding the debt collector, they will probably send a similar letter of demand saying you have x days to pay up or we will commence legal action. This is why you need to see a solicitor NOW.
  8. Are you insured?
    Get them to act on your behalf if you are and THEY can deal with the particulars.
    (gotta love the cowardly insurance companies now hiring collection agencies....pissants)
  9. Also write back to the debt collector saying that the debt is in dispute.
    But definitely get legal advice.
  10. Rubbish.
    (i) Most lawyers do 1/2 hour free.
    (ii) MOST claims of this sort are settled with a letter or two
    (iii) Insurance co lawyers can only win if they are RIGHT.
  11. Do this immediately, as debt collectors will follow their schedule for escalation regardless of what you say or do, and add their costs to the debt, without any regard for reasonableness at all. In fact, phone the debt collector, and then follow up with a letter. It wont really do any good, but it will create a record of your communication.

    Then if insured, get your insurer to tackle Car Y's insurer, and to chase Car X. If not, get a solicitor immediately, or just pay it all and forget it. That is your only choice, pay or fight.

    You will soon have a black mark against your credit out of this, if you do not already. Act now.

    Oh, and never let this sort of stuff go on for months assuming that it will just go away. Insurance companies never let this stuff just go away, and unless you have it in writting that the matter is closed, it isn't.
  12. Given that the guy and Car X didn't actually collide then Car X is effectively out of the argument. It's totally between Car Y and himself.

    If Car X had hit him then it would be a different kettle of fish. But seeing as it didn't, it would be difficult, if not impossible to prove fault on behalf of Car X.

    In fact if it went to court they (the other side) could argue that it was the OP's poor driving skills that caused the incident in the first place and he's simply trying to blame some innocent third party.

    Note: I am not accusing the guy of poor riding. Just what they would say.
  13. I'm not sure it is rubbish

    I'll give you point 1, although remember I did state decent legal advice.

    Point 2 & 3 aren't relevant here. This guy is receiving letters of demand from car Y. You can write to car X and demand all you want. Car X hasn't hit anyone. Car Y was hit by the OP and will continue to demand money from the OP regardless of what Car X does or in this case doesn't do.

  14. I'd trust the lawyer here rather than the armchair lawyer.
  15. Whatever you think Smee, i really don't care.

    If it goes to court I'll put my money on the insurance companie's barrister over a solicitor every day of the week.
  16. Thank you so much for giving your thoughts on this topic.

    Either way I don't have the money. I'm confused now.

    Well, if in the end it will only make my credit bad then so be it. How can I pay the cost of the repair if I don't even have enough cash.
  17. It's rubbish. I'm in practice in a countrty town, and handle quite a few claims of this sort.
    Decent legal advice? A huge percentage of the larger firms in town do first half hour free.
    I'm ignoring the jibe because you are not qualified to judge.

    Let me repeat. They DO NOT go to court 99.x% of the time.
  18. You can negotiate a payment plan with the insurance company.
    It's quite simple, you write them a letter saying "I have very little money. I can afford to pay this debt off over time @ $5 per week."
    They'd rather get their money slowly than waste more money going to court, to have the same arrangement rubber-stamped by a judge or have you declare bankruptcy and bail on the debt anyways.

    But that's only if you pay.

    I'm honestly not sure if you're technically at fault or not for the damage your bike caused.
    So many of these 'I dodged a vehicle-at-fault, but hit something else instead of them' cases turn out with the rider shafted and liable; because it's not clear cut, and there's very little in the way of proof to use in pursuing the matter (or it i uneconomical to pursue the matter rather than just cop a smell-medium repair bill).

    Best of luck, ay.
  19. Are you insured?
    If not why not?
    You had enough cash to buy the bike and ride it yet not enough for at least third party accidents like this one?