If you have been in a car accident that you did not cause, you may be entitled to claim for any damage to your car.
In theory, the insurance company should return you to the position you were in before the accident happened, so if your repairs and the cost of a car rental costs you €3,000 in total, then the insurance company should reimburse you €3,000.
You also have a duty to mitigate your losses, which means you must not incur unnecessary costs while your car is being repaired. This means avoiding costs such as unnecessary, extended rental of a car model that is far more expensive than your own. The other party’s insurance company will only pay out “reasonable costs.”
Advise your mechanic to itemise the work to be done and the cost in writing and send the quote to the other party’s insurance company for approval. Notify the other party’s insurance company that you intend to carry out the repairs before you do so, and ask that their assessor review the damage
Remember, if you or anyone else in your vehicle suffered any injury, you should seek medical attention immediately and seek legal advice on claiming for your injuries.
Your Car. Your Garage. Your Choice.
Oftentimes insurance companies will encourage you to take your vehicle to one of their approved repairers. Legally you are entitled to have a garage of your choosing repair your vehicle. Our car accident solicitors can provide more information.
What are you entitled to recover?
1. Cost of repairs
Your motor assessor will agree on figures with your repairer to ensure that you recover the full costs of repair from the third party’s insurer.
2. Depreciation of value
Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may be entitled to receive an appropriate sum for the depreciation of value caused as a result of the accident.
3. Car hire
After a road traffic accident you are entitled to recover the cost of reasonable car hire or a reasonable sum for loss of use of your vehicle if it is written off.
4. Write off
If your car is viewed as uneconomical to repair and considered a ‘write off’, you should look to recover the current pre-accident value of your car less any post-accident salvage.
Categories of write offs:-
a. End of life category A
The vehicle is a total loss and cannot be returned to the road and has no salvageable parts. The vehicle must be disposed of and a Certificate of Destruction issued.
b. End of life category B
The vehicle is a total loss and cannot be returned on the road. Roadworthy and non-structural parts and components may be removed before being destroyed. The vehicle must be disposed of and a Certificate of Destruction issued.
c. Category C write off
The vehicle is repairable, but repairs exceed the value of the vehicle.If repaired a Certificate of Roadworthiness is required.
d. Category D write off
The cost of repairs amounts to a large percentage of the vehicle’s pre-accident value.
If repaired a Certificate of Roadworthiness is required.
Salvage offers are obtained in cases where the vehicle is a write off.
5. Other material losses
If you have had material items damaged in your vehicle as a result of the road traffic accident, such as a child seat (if there were child restraints in the car at the time of impact it is recommended that they be replaced under road safety regulations), phone kit or radio, you are entitled to recover the reasonable cost of replacing the lost or damaged items.
Material damage procedure. What we do.
- Engage a motor assessor to carry out an inspection of the vehicle and report.
- Liaise with your chosen repair shop to provide an estimate of the damage.
- Establish if liability is conceded.
- Was there a child seat in the vehicle? If so, we get an estimate for replacement from you (in accordance with road safety regulations).
- Is the vehicle a write off? You may be entitled to a maximum of two weeks of car hire.
- Is the vehicle unsafe to drive? You may be entitled to a maximum of two weeks of car hire.
- We will arrange towing and storage if required.
- We provide car hire if required.
- Repair: car hire is for the duration of the repairs only unless the car is deemed unsafe to drive by the Motor Assessor and repairing garage.
- Negotiate with the third party insurance company.
- Keep you updated on progress.
- Diminished Value/Depreciation: Depending on the age of the vehicle, depreciation or diminished value may apply.
What if the liable party is uninsured?
If the third-party driver is not covered by a valid policy of insurance there is a process, through the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), whereby you can still make a claim and recover your losses under certain conditions.
What if accident liability is in dispute?
The rules of the road / traffic laws and the mechanics of how the accident physically occurred can sometimes be in dispute between two parties. For example: lanes on roundabouts; indicators; who had the right of way?; etc. There are many variables which may be unique to each disputed case. Legal advice is best sought in such disputes so that you know where you stand.