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What do if my car is written off in an accident

So you’ve just been involved in a car accident. You’re hugely thankful when you realise that no one’s been seriously injured. Then you realise your car hasn’t been so lucky.

After an accident, your insurance company’s assessor will establish whether repairing your vehicle is economically viable, or if the car should be declared a write-off.

People often assume the car needs to be totalled to be considered a write-off, but this isn’t always the case. It all comes down to the cost of repairs versus the car’s market value.

Generally, there are two types of write-off:

Statutory write-off: The car is so badly damaged that it can never be repaired to a safe standard and is only suitable for parts or scrap metal

Repairable write-off: Technically, the car can be repaired, but the insurer decides doing so would be uneconomical compared to providing a pay-out.

Note that the pay-out might be significantly less what your car’s worth. Even in a not-at-fault accident, your insurer may make deductions including any remaining premium owed for the year and the unused portion of your registration and CTP. Depending on your cover, not at fault drivers might still have to pay an excess.

Disputing a write-off

A statutory write-off means off to the scrapyard – the car is considered unsafe to repair and return to the road. In the case of a repairable write-off, you may be able to challenge your insurer’s decision. You’ll generally only about a week to file a dispute and gather enough evidence to convince your insurer the car can be fixed for less than its market value.

You’ll need:

– Quotes from smash repairers, with a full breakdown of repair quotes
– Evidence of your car’s market value from a provider such as redbook.com.au
– Quotes from salvage yards that reflect the salvage value of your vehicle

With this information, it may be possible to come to an agreement with your insurer, requesting that they foot the repair bill instead and don’t report your vehicle to the written-off register.

Re-registering and selling a written-off vehicle

In most states and territories, repairable write-offs can be re-registered, although they may have to pass additional inspections.

However, in NSW, vehicles that have been written off due to an accident cannot be re-registered, although there are a few exemptions. Check the current policy here.

A write-off will almost certainly take a big chunk off the value of your car. Any prospective buyers who aren’t put off will probably be looking for a bargain. So, keep all these things in mind before you dispute a write-off and weigh up whether it’s worth keeping the car or taking the cash.

Waiting on repairs? Contact Not My Fault to find out what you are entitled to and arrange your replacement courtesy car.

Interstate driving: advice for driving unfamiliar roads

Long road trips can be fraught with unpredictable accidents and driving conditions. With changes in weather as you drive further into different states, to winding roads that feel impossible to follow, driving interstate can be complicated the first time. To avoid accidents, especially not-at-fault accidents, driving safely is paramount. We’ve compiled our tips for safe driving on unfamiliar roads, and how to prepare for road conditions that are unique from state to state.

Follow a GPS

Interstate roads can be extremely different to what you’re used to; from state to state, the design can feel very strange, especially for smaller roads in built-up areas and around the central business districts. A GPS will help you predict the road patterns ahead of time, to help you avoid making wrong and dangerous turns. Additionally, when engaging with an accident replacement vehicle or hire car, ensure you include a GPS additionally to the car’s setup. As the vehicle is already unfamiliar and drives differently to your regular car, it’s wise to include navigation as a precaution.

Keep a safe distance

Though we should always maintain a safe distance on the roads, no matter where we drive, driving on unfamiliar roads should always come with additional caution. Especially in congested areas and high-speed zones, exercise added distance between you and the cars around you. It’s during this style of driving that not-at-fault accidents are likely to occur; even if you’re in the right, a cautious approach will help you stay safe interstate.

Research road rules

Some road rules differ depending on each state, especially around landmarks and varying traffic conditions. In Victoria, for example, specific laws surround the speed near trams as well as the regulated stopping distance. These laws don’t exist in other states, so those living outside of Victoria won’t know how to drive legally around trams. However, as a visitor, you’re expected to know these laws and abide by them, no matter where you’re from, so prior research is essential.

Keep distances shorter than normal

As you travel through Australia, long driving stints can make it harder to concentrate and navigate around unfamiliar roads. Through areas foreign to you, keep your driving distances shorter than average by prioritising longer breaks than usual. It’s best to consult your GPS before you start driving again after any breaks, to plan your next driving break adequately.

Should I seek legal advice after my not-at-fault car accident?

One of the most commonly asked questions about not-at-fault accidents surrounds the need for legal advice. Although most people know who is in the wrong during these types of accidents, legal disputes can still occur. Though it isn’t necessary in all cases, legal advice can be beneficial to help manage your rights and ensure you get what you need to recover adequately. We share with you why seeking legal advice after a not-at-fault car accident is a beneficial option, especially for those who are unsure about the process and don’t understand their rights.

You may be in the wrong

During a not-at-fault car accident, the driver in front is usually blameless in the accident and will find themselves not liable for damages or repair costs. However, the reality of the situation may be vastly different, as the driver behind you may claim you’re at fault, or your driving resulted in the car accident. With legal help, you’re able to determine who is really at fault in this situation, in the eyes of the law, which will help you proceed with insurance claims and alike processes.

Guidance with insurance

Submitting an insurance claim can be stressful and complicated, especially when you haven’t completed the process before or you’re unsure of your entitlements. Especially for those who are eligible for an accident replacement vehicle, legal guidance will ensure you receive what’s on your policy so that you can resume your everyday life quickly. Some policies are incredibly complex and subject to changing regulations, and a legal representative can efficiently and promptly decipher your entitlements.

Ensure you’re not exploited

Between the driver of the other car and your insurance agency, it’s possible to feel taken advantage of with your not-at-fault claims. Some people implore a bully tactic to scare accident victims from making claims, especially those who are in the right and are entitled to help. A legal professional can provide you with much-needed support and assurance of your rights, and liaise with the other parties to ensure you get what you deserve.

Manage any injury claims

If you’ve unfortunately experienced any injury as a result of your not-at-fault accident, there are more issues at play than just your car repairs. Injury claims can be tricky to process, especially when addressing hospital cover, ambulance costs and rehabilitation fees. Legal advice is highly recommended for injured individuals so you can best receive the care and help you need. You may find you’re entitled to more support than you’re aware of, and you should receive this care when needed.

How to avoid 3 of the most common causes of car accidents

The most common causes of car accidents and road fatalities in Australia are also the most easily avoidable. Aside from drink driving, it is essential to also be aware of the ordinary, everyday little things that we don’t take seriously enough, such as being overtired, or distracted, or dipping unintentionally just over the speed limit. These are all among the chief causes of motor accidents.

There was an increase in the national number of road fatalities over twelve months in recently published statistics. Following even the most basic safety precautions when you’re on the road will help make sure you avoid both minor and major collisions.

1. Speeding

A third of the fatal accidents in Australia are the result of speeding, however, it isn’t always high-speed driving that’s the culprit. Exceeding the limit by much smaller amounts can just as easily lead to a serious accident, a point often underestimated by drivers. It’s important to note that a car travelling at 60 km/h takes around 40 metres to stop. A collision at a speed as low as 30 km/h can cause serious injury, or worse, to the occupants of cars involved in a side-on crash, or to cyclists and pedestrians.

Always be very aware of speed, and stay within the posted speed signs. Always reduce speed in poor weather, at night, and when navigating bends in the road or on poor road surfaces.

2. Fatigue

Driving while overtired can be just as dangerous as driving over the alcohol limit. It is harder for police to detect and often viewed by drivers as manageable. However, tired drivers account for around a third of fatal car accidents and these accidents have a much higher incidence of involving only a single vehicle. Fatigue impacts a driver’s ability to react quickly to changing traffic conditions. Just a few seconds of a driver unintentionally micro-sleeping can have tragic results.

How can you know when your fatigue is likely to be dangerous? Always have had plenty of sleep and be well-rested before heading off. On a long trip make certain you stop for 10-15 minutes every two hours. If you’re yawning or your eyelids are drooping, pull over at a rest stop and take a power nap.

3. Distraction

There have never been as many distractions for a driver as there are in today’s hi-tech world. Whether it’s chatting on a hands-free mobile, checking the GPS, switching stations on the car radio, or listening to your in-car music system. Maybe it is simply being distracted by the duelling kids in the back seat or an impatient pet that’s alongside you.

Keep your focus on the road at all times by following these methods: Minimise any interaction with sound systems and phone conversations. Avoid drinking or eating while driving. Ensure that children are secure and restrained by seat belts and pets are in suitable carriers.

Keep in mind also, that if you are involved in a not-at-fault accident, caused by the other vehicle’s driver, then you are entitled by law to an accident replacement car. Call 1800699034 where the Not My Fault expert team can help.

Establishing liability: 3 tips for proving you were not at fault

When there is an accident on the road, most of the time it is very clear who is at fault. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes who is at fault can be contested and drivers will often try to shift blame away from themselves if at all possible. That’s why it’s so important that if you are in an accident where your not at fault that you follow the below steps to make sure you’re not the one who ends up paying.

Take notes

It’s a really good idea to write down your version of events as soon as you can after the accident has occurred. If either insurance company calls to establish who was at fault, its vital that you are able to describe what happened in as much detail as possible. If you don’t write anything down then you risk your side of the story being incomplete and having inconsistencies. In some instances this can be enough for investigators to find in favour of the other driver.

Take photos

By taking photos you arm yourself with proof of what has occurred and give investigators the best chance of getting to the truth. It’s important you take photos of the cars themselves and any relevant damage. It also helps to photograph any other impact the crash had. For example skid marks on the road, broken glass or damage to the roadside.

Ask witnesses for their details

Eyewitnesses can be an invaluable resource for investigators when they are trying to reconstruct an accident. If you see someone nearby who saw what happened politely ask them for their details and if they would be prepared to assist. If you are not at fault, having an unbiased third party who backs your side of the story could make all the difference.

If you can establish that the other party is at fault, not only will they have to pay damages, they may also have to pay for an accident courtesy car. This is why it pays to be prepared to prove your innocence. Follow the above steps and you give yourself the best chance of being found not liable. If you have been involved in an accident, contact us today to arrange an accident replacement car.