I'm not at fault - Car crashes

car crash self-help guide logoYou can try to recover the cost of repairs from the other driver for the damage to your car. To do this, send the driver, or their insurance company, a letter of demand asking them to pay for the cost of repairs, towing and storage. 

You should get legal advice about who is at fault before finalising the total amount of your claim and sending a letter of demand.

Sending a letter of demand

The other driver or their insurer agrees to pay

If they agree to pay, ask for this in writing, including the amount to be paid and the date by which payment will be made. This is called a ‘settlement agreement‘. If payment is not made by this date, you should get legal advice.

You should get legal advice before signing a settlement agreement.

The other driver or their insurer refuses to pay or does not respond

If you have sent a letter of demand, but:

  • the other driver or their insurer refuses to pay the whole claim, or
  • you haven't received a response by the deadline you gave in the letter,

    you will need to make a decision about what to do next.

Going through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

If you are unable to negotiate with the other driver's insurer, you may be able to make a claim through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). This is a free service.

Making a claim with the AFCA
Please note: this video refers to the Financial Ombudsman Service. From 1 November 2018 this was replaced by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA can deal with disputes of this type where the damage is less than $15,000.

You can make a claim to AFCA if:

  • you are an uninsured driver
  • the other driver is at fault
  • the other driver is insured (and has made a valid claim and paid any relevant excess to their insurer), and
  • your claim for damage is under $15,000 (or you are prepared to accept this amount to settle your claim).
Making a Magistrates Court claim

You may want to make a claim for damages in the Magistrates Court of WA if:

  • attempts to negotiate with the other driver are unsuccessful (if they are uninsured or not claiming through their insurance policy)
  • you have made a claim to AFCA but are unable to settle the matter, or
  • you are not eligible to make a claim to AFCA against the other driver's insurance.

Get legal advice before starting a case at court.

Tip

Keep a record of any conversations you have with the insurer or the other driver, including who you speak to, the date of the conversation, and what was said.

 

Useful documents

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Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.