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.

>> How to claim from your insurer following an accident

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.

>> How to claim from an accident management or credit hire firm

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.

>> Your complete guide to motor insurance


john radburn    on 3 July 2017

It all goes"pear shaped"when you are involved in a non fault accident with an uninsured person/pedestrian and your insurer can't claim against the other party.try renewing after that!

GadgetMan999    on 3 July 2017

What this doesn't mention is whether you can claim the increase in premium the following year even if you were not to blame. They seem to assume that because you had a no claim fault, you must be driving in locations that are risky and hence hike up your premium.

Edited by GadgetMan999 on 03/07/2017 at 14:47

motorclaimguru    on 3 July 2017

Hi Gadget Man,

Yes, is the answer you are after. Any loss that you sustain as a result of an accident that is not your fault, is recoverable as long as it is a "legitimate loss". I would be claiming the increase premium for the next 5 years.

Kind regards

Tim Kelly on behalf of www.honestjohn.co.uk

Tim Cooper    on 3 July 2017

There is no mention of excesses either. We had to pay the excess after our vehicle was torched by the roadside and the increase in premium. The payment based on some kind of weird way of calculating the value of the vehicle resulted in us only being able to replace our original with one 2 years older. We were unable to provide a direct comparison to dispute the figure as there were simply no other vehicles of the same age and mileage on the market at that time. Tort law! bit of a joke really.

motorclaimguru    on 3 July 2017

Hi Mr Cooper,

The reason why there is no mention of excess is, this is something you pay when claiming through your own insurer.Not from the at fault party directly or via a claims management company. In the article above, there are links to more information on various ways to claim.

Any loss you incur as result of someone else's negligence is recoverable as long as you can identify them, and they are insured.

In your situation , i am guessing you never identified who set fire to your vehicle, and had to claim through your own insurer, hence why you had to pay the excess.

Kind regards

Tim Kelly on behalf of www.honestjohn.co.uk

motorclaimguru    on 3 July 2017

Hi John,

What you can do is claim via the Motor Insurance Bureau in that instance.

Their details are here.


Kind regards

Tim Kelly on behalf of www.honestjohn.co.uk

Frank Cottle    on 3 July 2017

My grandson was hit off his motorcycle by a third party and liability was immediately admitted by the third party and his insurers. His injuries included surgery and his treatment is still on going. Obviously, he had to engage the services of a local solicitor who is working on a "no win,no fee" although liability is not in dispute.

As the claim is likely to be settled in the region of £30,000, the solicitor will then deduct his fee of 25% = £7,500 in a case where liability is not in dispute. Is this fair ???

motorclaimguru    on 18 July 2017

Hi Frank,

Did your grandson explore the different options of seeking legal representation?

Did he have legal assistance on his policy?had he have, he would have received his full £30k.

Should the solicitor work for free?

Did you negotiate with the solicitor prior to claiming? and ask that his fee's be covered under the header of claim for special damages?

How many solicitors did your grandson visit prior to instructing? as he had to agree to the fee prior to claiming, and it is line with current terms.

There is also the more dangerous option of dealing directly with the at fault insurer and with out representation, though they still have to offer what they already have.

is it fair? if you agree to it, Yes. In your son's case, i would be asking the solicitors why he has not claimed for his fee's from the at fault party?

Kind regards

Tim Kelly

Adam Mackie    on 12 September 2017

Hi, where do I stand, we had an accident that was not our fault, the car has been written off due to having £8800 worth of damage. We have been offered a settlement that is fair but I now have no car and £2000 of finance left to pay(only had car a year). At no point does this put me into the position I was in prior to the accident. What can I do?

Antony Melody    on 13 November 2018

Just been knocked off my bike - 3rd party admits liability - bike written off. Replacement bike found between £2500 and £3500 on ebay dealers. Claims company value mine at £1950. I will be out of pocket minimum £550 pounds to get to where I was before the accident. Being told there is nothing I can do, the valuation is Glass's and verified by an 'independent' inspector - paid for by the 3rd party insurer. The claims company representing me have made more money out of renting me a bike during the process than I will get as payment. Seems they don't work for me at all. Can I legally do anything to make up the shortfall?

Eddm    on 17 January 2019

My parked car was hit and there was a witness. Sadly I have to pay my £400 excess to get the car fixed, and I’ve been advised that it is unlikely I’ll get it back because I didn’t opt for motor legal. If they ever admit liability, I’ll have to go directly to the third party insurance company and ask that they reimburse my excess, or use a solicitor (£££££). This doesnt seem right if they accept liability? No clue how long this will take as it was by a bus company... I feel sick with sorry. What can I do?

Sheena Bradford    on 24 January 2019

A car drove into my camper which was parked on the road and I was indoors. They have accepted liability however only offered us £1500. Was told to go through my insurance to see ifi coyld get more.
So now going through my insurance and there offer is £2500. Do i have to accept this offer or can i haggle and I have to pay My excess of £275.. why aren’t there insurers paying for the damage… also I have read that I can claim the excess back is this true. Getting confused and fed up with this as the accident was in October 2018. Please advise if you can. Thanks in advance..

jokeefe,    on 18 September 2019

I was hit up the back as I turned left of a one way street, he rubbed the side of his car on the right corner of my cars bumper, the insurance said it was my fault, and of course it wasn't, what can I do, they wont even give me his insurance name, or his name either, this was a year ago, they said they don't want to talk about it, its allianz insurance

   on 4 November 2019

My Car was wrote off last week, 3rd party has claimed full responsibility, I owe £15000 on the car the insurance company have paid £12000.00 can I recover the outstanding debt from the 3rd party?

   on 30 June 2020

I had my van in for a repair a trader took my vehicle and went into someone at the rear and damage my van the trader telephone he's insurance company to put in a claim he took full responsibility. I told my insurance company as well.
Never heard from the trader insurance company for 4 months this should be stop now they wouldn't talk to me over the phone at all so I went through my insurance to see if they would to take this on they reply yes they told me total write off. £6,000
I totally lost out the trader never had insurance cover for a courtesy vehicle for me
this should be stopped now the trader shouldn't have a trader policy without a full cover .Im self employed lose work never had a vehicle for over 4 months couldn't claim nothing. now my insurance policy has double no fault of my own this is totally wrong all this has got to be stop NOW how can I claim for this.

Warning Warning Warning

Be aware of having your vehicle repaired from a trader

   on 21 July 2020

Hi what happens when your car gets hit and wasn't your fault and the insurance has took car to be fixed but they can't get a part?

   on 23 July 2020

I have recently been involved in an RTC and currently have 'hire' car, there was no mention of credit just that it would be charged to the third party. Good point to be aware of, will double check.
Please could you explain how to claim for increased premiums? From your comment dated 3/7/17 if it I sent still relevant.
Also they are saying I have to pay for ATE (after the event) insurance £300 although I have legal cover with the motor insurance policy, should that not cover this eventuality?

   on 11 January 2021

Hi - I have been recently involved in a RTA that was not my fault. My car has been written off. With the offer i have received, I will not be able to purchase a like for like replacement vehicle. The independent engineer said that they used The Glass's guide for the valuation & those valuations are used in court & basically there is nothing I can do about it. Also, can i not get a second opinion for the repair costs that may render my car to be repaired viably? Thanks

   on 20 February 2021

In November 2020 I had an accident that was not my fault. Plantec offered me a hire bike, I asked if I would have to pay any amount and he replied that the other insurance company would pay the expenses, now Plantec is in contact with me to give them details of my bank account and the reasons why I decided to accept the hire bike. Apparently the other company does not want to take care of the expenses and I feel very frustrated because due to the accident in the middle of the pandemic they left me without a motorcycle

   on 30 March 2021

After my daughter being hit side on by a vehicle coming from a side road over 2 years ago after much deliberation the woman that hit her accepted responsibility for accident however the cost of the hire car has been disputed. When she reported the accident to her insurer they said they would arrange a replacement vehicle like for like. The vehicle arrived the next day and was used for over 30 days as the repair took a long time and my daughter did at one point go to collect it only to be told it was not ready as expected. At no time was my daughter asked to get a cheaper vehicle. She had left the replacement vehicle in the hands of the insurer. She was told 18 months later she should of got a cheaper car and that she had to prove that she wasnt financially able to hire car at her cost. She had to send bank statements from the time of the accident and any savings. She had savings as she has an Is a as she was saving to get on the property ladder so that money wasn't an option. She has now had an email to say a court date has been arranged for December. She has been made to look like the guilty party here for an accident on her recently bought prestige car. What should she do

JaxA    on 6 May 2021

My daughter is going through exactly the same thing and has a court case pending, she was told by her insurance company as it was a cut and dried case that she was going to be dealt with by an accident management company, having never been involved in an accident before, she trusted all the information given to her, they arranged a hire car and arranged repairs to her car, she now is being taken to court by the 3rd parties insurance company as they say that the like for like vehicle hire was too expensive and the garage used charged excessively, my daughter is so stressed by all this and none of it was her fault as she was stationary in traffic and the 3rd parties car came around the roundabout too fast and crashed into one car which shunted the car in the middle into my daughters car, they have admitted liability, so why the court case? She also had to provide bank statements to prove that she didn't have the money to hire a car herself, but why should she be out of pocket for an accident which wasn't her fault, I just don't understand it.

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