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What are my rights in an accident that is not my fault?

When you have an accident that is not your fault, you have the right to claim your losses back from the at fault party.

This is covered under tort law. When you have a tort made against you, it means that your are the injured party. This does not necessarily mean you have personal injuries, it means you have suffered a financial loss as a result of the at fault parties negligence.

All claims, whether under a tort or whether claiming directly through your insurance company, are about claiming for a pecunary loss. This is claiming for the financial loss you have incurred that will bring you restitution. In other words, the amount of money it will take to put you back in the situation you were in prior to the loss occurring.

With a claim that is not your fault, the case law that applies is the Coles v Hetherton case.

Can I claim for loss of use of my vehicle?

When you have an accident that is not your fault, you have the entitlement to be put back into the same situation you were in prior to your loss.

Because you have now been deprived of the use of your vehicle, you have the lawful entitlement to arrange for another vehicle or alternative transport to use while being deprived of yours.

This area of claim, is covered under uninsured losses. These are areas of a claim that are not covered under a contract of insurance that you may have in place. This means you can claim for any legitimate loss you have sustained as a result of the accident.

So you can claim for taxis, bus fares or any alternative transport that you have had to pay for plus any out of pocket expenses. The main area claimed is for the direct loss of use of your vehicle.

You are entitled to hire a vehicle and claim this back from the at fault insurer. The cost of hire must be 'reasonable' though, so in line with the market place. Most people cannot afford to hire a vehicle out of their own pocket and this is where credit hire makes an appearance.

Credit hire is where a company will provide a vehicle of the same level (engine size, number of doors, status) as the one you have.

Should the claims management or credit hire provider decide your car is a total loss, they may apply a lot of pressure on to you to agree the market value on your vehicle.

They will provide this vehicle 'on credit' to you. This does not mean there is no charge and this does not mean they will get the cost of hire provided to you from the at fault party. Instead, this is like you hiring a car and paying for it on your credit card. You are wholly 100 percent liable for the cost of the vehicle.

These companies may advise you that it is at 'no cost' to you, but this is not true. There are certain criteria that must be fulfilled for you to be successful to claim. One of which is you must be 'impecunious' or the term used is you are suffering from impecuniosity. This means you do not have the funds to go and hire a car at your own expense.

To successfully claim for a credit hire vehicle, you may be asked to attend court and provide your bank statements to prove you could not afford to hire one yourself. Another criteria is the length of claim. The courts see it as being reasonable to act in a way to mitigate loss, in other words incur more loss than would have been necessary. This is a good and a bad thing.

Some credit hire companies that are not regulated work with insurance companies on a pre-agreed terms. This called the ABI GTA

What is the ABI GTA?

The ABI GTA is the Association of British Insurers General Terms of Agreement. This is an agreement between insurers that credit hire companies can join on a tier two agreement. Insurers are tier one, claims management and credit hire companies are tier two.

This agreement was originally put in place to control the cost of credit hire between insurers.mThis on the one hand was successful, on the other it acted in conflict to a consumers lawful entitlement (see Coles v Hetherton).

Credit hire companies could also join this agreement. Insurers agreed to pay these credit hire companies at pre-agreed rates dependent on the class of vehicle and pay them within 60 days.
This is fabulous for credit hire companies, as they do not have to fight on your behalf in court to get paid and it aids their cashflow.

This is not always good for you. Should the claims management or credit hire provider decide your car is a total loss, they may apply a lot of pressure on to you to agree the market value on your vehicle. This may not be in your interest, as your vehicle may be worth more than is being offered.

Only when settlement has been agreed - and when you have been provided the correct sum of monies that will enable you to replace your vehicle - should the credit hire vehicle be taken from you.

This does not mean you can hold on to the credit hire vehicle for as long as you wish, but it also does not mean they can take the car away from you the next day or a few days later. You may have the funds to but the vehicle, but a reasonable amount of time must be given for you to buy one.

Another criteria is the class of vehicle. Cars are generally graded on engine size, amount of doors, and size of vehicle.

Should you be provided with a Range Rover, when you were driving a Nissan Micra, then your claim would be unsuccessful. You cannot claim for that to which you are not entitled.

Due to this, you do need to be careful on the vehicle being offered. You may find the at fault insurer contacts you directly to provide a vehicle for you. This can be a good and a bad thing.

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