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If your car was damaged in an accident that you think was not your fault, you might want to make a claim against the other driver to recover the cost of repairing your vehicle and other losses, such as hire car costs. You can phone them, send them an email or sms, or write them a letter. Whichever method you choose, it is important to make sure you communicate clearly, setting out how much you are claiming and why you believe they were at fault in the car accident.
A common way to make a claim is to send a letter of demand. Before you send a letter, you will need to find out their current contact details.
It is much better to communicate with the other driver, rather than start a case in court straight away.
You will need to know the name and address of the driver and in some cases the owner, of the other vehicle.
If the other driver did not give their details, there are other ways to identify the other party. For more information, see Identify the other party.
If you have comprehensive insurance, you can make a claim on your insurance policy if you want your insurer to handle the claim for you. They will contact the driver at fault, and try to recover the cost of repairing the damage to your vehicle.
If you were at fault in the accident, and you have either comprehensive or third party property insurance, you can make a claim on your insurance policy to cover the damage you caused to the other vehicle. If you have comprehensive insurance, this will also cover the damage to your vehicle.
For more information, see Insurance.
A letter of demand is a letter to the other party, asking them to pay you the cost of repairing the damage to your vehicle, as well as any other losses that resulted from the accident. The letter should tell the other person how much you are claiming, and when you would like the money to be paid to you.
For more information and instructions on how to write a letter of demand, see Letter of demand.
Case study - Rob and Mick
Rob parked his car at a shopping centre. After checking his mirrors, Rob slowly reversed out of a parking spot at the shops when he suddenly felt a bump. Rob had run into a car that was behind him. Rob does not have comprehensive car insurance. Rob tried to resolve the dispute with Mick and sent him a letter of demand to pay for the cost of repairs to his car.
If you cannot resolve your dispute and you decide you want to start a court case to recover the cost of repairing your vehicle, you must commence legal proceedings within six years of the date of the accident.