by Alvin Lim
If your vehicle suffered damage due to a collision, we have you covered! Here is what you can do to get compensation or cover the costs of repair.
At the site of the accident
When your vehicle is involved in an accident, you can do the following things to make the rest of the process as smooth as possible. You should do these things even if you believe the accident was not your fault.
- Details, details, details!
- Essentials: make sure to get the driver’s name and licence details, make and model of the other party’s vehicle.
- Insurance information: Ask the other party if they are insured and get the details of their insurance.
- Accident site: make a note of what both parties were doing, their estimated speeds, and how you thought the accident occurred. Also note the name of the road, nearby landmarks, traffic lights, distance from crossings and kerbs etc.
- Witnesses: If you see any people around who may have seen the accident, try to obtain their names and contact details as they could be witnesses.
- Damage and costs: If you and/or the other party has suffered damage to the car, make a note of that damage. If you had to incur additional costs like using a towing service, keep receipts of these costs.
- Police reports: If a police report was made at the scene or later, ensure you have a copy or report number.
- Photos are your friend
Wherever possible, back the details up with photographs. It is crucial to take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, licence plates, street signs and the accident site.
- Claiming costs
There are normally three ways you could proceed if your vehicle has been damaged. You could either make a claim for repair costs through your insurer, pay for the repair directly yourself, or you could sue the other party for costs you incurred. This option is particularly effective if your vehicle was not insured.
Going to court
No one said going to court was easy. It can be complicated and time consuming. Getting professional legal representation ensures you have the best chance of success! If you decide to sue the other driver or their insurance provider to recover the expenses you incurred, we can guide you through the process.
- Confirm the details
Before you start legal proceedings, you would have to convey the details of the accident to your lawyer so they can advise you on the best course of action. The details and photographs you collect at the time of the accident will come in handy.
- Assess the damage
You would then engage vehicle assessors to estimate the damage to your car, how much repairs would cost, and the market value of your car.
If the cost of repairing the car is greater than the car’s market value, you could write it off and sell it to a salvage yard.
- What amount can you claim?
If you decide to repair your car, you could claim the costs of repair. If you decide to write off the car, you could claim the market value minus the salvage value. In both cases, any reasonable costs you incurred as a result of the damage may be recoverable (e.g. towing, storage, hiring another car, using a taxi service etc.).
- Reach out to the other party
Once you have decided the amount you wish to recover, your lawyer will reach out to the other party and inform them of the claim you plan to make, usually in the form of a demand letter.
- Litigation or settlement?
Depending on the other party’s response, you may opt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement or decide to proceed with litigation in court. A settlement offers a guaranteed amount paid to you while keeping legal costs down. Your lawyer would advise you on which course of action is best for your case.
During these stages, there would be some back-and-forth communication between your lawyer and the other party as they discuss and negotiate the details of your claim.
- Sign a release document
If both parties reach an agreement to resolve the matter, you will most likely sign a Deed of Settlement containing key terms like the amount the other party has agreed to pay, how and when they are supposed to pay etc.
Upon execution of this Deed and fulfilment of each parties’ obligation within the agreed time frame, the matter will be at an end.
If the parties are unable to reach agreement, you may have to consider escalating the matter to court.
Although the legal process may seem complicated, your lawyer will guide you at each step to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general and introductory nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional legal advice. You should always speak to us and obtain legal advice before taking any action relating to matters raised in this publication.