A recent court decision has reinforced the rights of drivers involved in not at fault accidents. You may be wondering what you are entitled to after a not at fault car accident. Like many Australians, you may be unaware that you are entitled to hire an accident replacement vehicle at no cost to you after an accident that wasn’t your fault. You’re also entitled to keep the vehicle for the entire duration of your repairs or in the case of total loss, until your settlement funds are received.
What’s The Background Of This Case?
A young provisional licence holder was involved in a not at fault car accident in June 2021.
Following the accident, he hired an accident replacement vehicle from Right2Drive to be able to carry out his daily responsibilities. The following month, in July 2021, the not at fault driver was made aware that his vehicle was a write-off.
However, it took several weeks from the initial date of the accident for the at fault driver’s insurer to confirm liability. The at fault driver’s insurer then delayed making a settlement offer for another 6 weeks, which was the end of August 2021. During this time, the not at fault driver continued using the Right2Drive accident replacement vehicle to get around.
The not at fault driver found the settlement offer not to be acceptable, as it was less than his own view of the market value. Although he had engaged his own lawyers to make a counteroffer, he decided to accept the initial settlement offer in October due to various reasons, including the prohibitive costs of litigation. Once the not at fault driver had received the settlement funds, he returned our accident replacement vehicle in accordance with his obligations to Right2Drive.
Why Did This Case End Up In Court?
The at fault driver’s insurer argued that it was not reasonable for the not at fault driver to continue hiring an accident replacement vehicle after he was made aware that his own car was a write-off as, in their view, he could have immediately replaced his car.
The at fault driver’s insurer also argued that it was not reasonable for the not at fault driver to continue hiring the accident replacement vehicle after they had made the settlement offer, submitting that the not at fault driver was seeking to profit opportunistically from the accident.
What Did The Court Decide?
The court disagreed with the at fault driver’s insurer and found that it was reasonable for the not at fault driver to continue hiring the accident replacement vehicle until he had received the settlement funds, as he wasn’t in a position to purchase his own replacement car without the settlement money.
The court also affirmed the not at fault driver’s right to seek a review of the insurer’s decision and challenge it within reason.
How Does This Case Reinforce Not At Fault Drivers’ Rights?
The decision put forward by the court reinforces the rights of not at fault drivers to mitigate their losses by hiring an accident replacement vehicle until they receive settlement funds, and to challenge insurers when necessary. Ultimately, it serves as a reminder that not at fault drivers have rights that must be upheld and protected, and that service providers like Right2Drive play a critical role in ensuring that these rights are recognised.
We will continue to work to ensure that drivers who have been involved in not at fault accidents receive the support and compensation that they are entitled to under Australian law.