The Mechanic Crashed My Car

Hi Guys, well it's technically not my car but my girlfriends car. I wrote the title like that in case this happens to someone else, and they decide to type that into google (as it was the first thing I did when I found out).

Long story short, she took it to our local Toyota dealership for the capped price servicing (as it’s only an 18 month old car) and got a call later that day informing her that the mechanic was in an accident.

We were told the mechanic was taking it for a quick drive once the service was complete, and apparently they cashed due to another speeding driver. We were provided photos of the car, and has since been deemed a write off.

She has been given a courtesy car in the meantime while the Toyota insurance works out a solution.

Car model: 2016 Toyota Yaris ZR (top of the range), insured for $20,700 with GIO.

Has anybody been in a similar situation?

Any ideas what kind of compensation you think she will receive?

Thank you all for your answers, I will attempt to update this as the story progresses.

Update 1: So we have informed the insurance company and have decided not to lodge a claim as Toyota are currently working it out with their insurance. A claim will only be lodged if Toyota are unreasonable with their offer. Toyota have yet to give any indication of what reimbursement she will receive, as they are still waiting for more information on their side.
She was given another more spec'd up loan car free of charge in the mean time, so Toyota are doing the right thing so far.

Update 2:
So after many many phone calls with both Toyota and her insurance company, Toyota's insurance company decided to give her a new car. We had a meeting with a really nice salesman who initially offered her a top of the range Yaris, however as there was only Pink or Yellow available till September, they then offered a Corolla Sport model (mid-range). Which was a very nice surprise! She was able to get it in the colour she wanted and it be available the following day. She also got some sensors and GPS at cost price.

Thank you all for your comments!

TLDR: Toyota mechanic crashed my girlfriends car during a routine service, they supplied a loan car for the down time and then after 2 weeks gave her a brand new mid-range Corolla.


  • +30

    Any ideas what kind of compensation you think she will receive?
    insured for $20,700

    you answered your own question

    • +42

      As this happened while it was in the care of Toyota, it is likely that they will claim on their insurance and she won't need to make a claim through hers. As such her insured value doesn't come into play at this point and it doesn't look like it'll need to at all.

      There's likely to be some negotiation possible when the dealership makes an offer of restitution. They may offer the red-book value of the car, or being a dealership they may offer a similar 2nd hand replacement used car. I would be pushing for a replacement brand new vehicle, but not actually expecting to receive one. If they offered a new replacement with a very small additional cost for the 'upgrade', I would be happy.

      If Toyota's insurance tries to offer an unreasonably low amount (which let's face it, it's their job to try), feel free to not accept their first amount and use examples of car dealership prices for an identical car to push for the full replacement value.

      As for inconvenience, they've given you a courtesy car (I assume for free) so it's annoying that it's happened but realistically you're not that inconvenienced. If they tried to charge you for the service on the crashed car I'd laugh in their face.

      • Wouldn't Toyota's insurance negotiate with OP's GF's insurance RE: the value?

        • +12

          check if your insurance company offers a new replacement, if your car was purchased new and got written off and is under 2 years old you could get a brand new replacement.

        • +4

          The car owner doesn't have to claim on their own insurance if the other party (the mechanic & their insurance) admits fault and offers acceptable resolution.

          The only reason the OPs GFs insurance need to get involved is if Toyota insurance doesn't make an acceptable offer. Then she can make a claim and her insurance will fight with Toyota about it.

          At this stage no fighting (or paying of OP GF excess) seems necessary.

        • +1

          @Glider: I wasn't saying that at all - I'm only talking about the agreed value. The party at fault's insurance won't know what the value is; the OP's GF's insurer has an agreed value and would provide that to the PAF's insurer.

    • +1

      I agree, and don't think she is entitled to anything else. I am not looking forward to going down the path if they disagree on that amount. Hoping suggestions on here will help

      • This happened my mom and dad in 2000 16months old holden they replace a car with new model car holden. they had loan car for 8weeks.

  • They'll claim their insurance and fix it for you? Not enough?

    Or are you really asking the question will they 1) forgo billing you gys for the service and/or 2) pay you some sort of compo for any inconvenience caused? Make some noise at the head office level then you may get something. Good luck.

    • +32

      As an ex-dealer mechanic, it is standard practice to road test vehicles after service. It's usually only a pround the block or so to make sure everything was ok. Major things like brake work, engine and drive line work usually require a much bigger road test. It's safer to give it a road test and a once over to make sure there are no leaks and nothing was forgotten.

      • +3

        yep, if the dealer mechanic forgets to put the sump plug back in, they can "fix" it then and there after the spin round the block, without the customer ever knowing their engine is now pretty much rooted.

        • +11

          And don't forget to get it back in and detail the 4~6lt of oil that would be all over the car, under the car, all over the driveway and road. And then we have to throw banana skins in what ever we left the oil out of to make that quiet. I always keep bananas in my tool box, just for this reason…

  • +2

    STORY TIME!… Few years ago, took my car to get serviced at a well known chain for a basic service. Get a call later in the day saying "your car has been in an accident" and to come down to their shop. Get there, the manager says to me "the mechanic was taking it for a test drive, the sun was in his eyes and he crashed into a tree". Asked them to show me the car (it was around the corner about 100m from their shop) and noticed that A, there was skid marks on the road, and B the windshield was smashed on the passenger side of the front windshield as well as a few drops of blood on the passenger side door (which indicates that someone ELSE was in the car)

    Apparently the mechanic went to the hospital, and was never heard from again. To top it off, what the mechanic claimed was that the club lock flew OFF the floor of the passenger side, and smashed the windshield!!!

    Anyway, ended up being a write off.. my insurance paid out the money

    • Was it the sort of car worth taking for a hoon? High powered?

  • +7

    I would push for a new car but settle for a demo model if need be.

    Paying you out the value of the car means you are going to have to put your own money in to be about where you were before the accident.

  • +8

    And what more do you want from the dealer? Accidents happen. They gave her a loan car to drive around in and will replace your car through their insurance. They would be hard pressed to make you pay for a service on a car that is totalled, but that's about the extent of it.

    And why is it, as soon as something happens, everyone screams "compo!!!". It's a crashed car. No one lost their legs, arm or eyes. It's replaceable. So long as they replace it with something the same or better, what more do people want?

    • How do you know they will replace the car?

      Compo is a way to force organisations to change their behaviours or policies. Yes it was an accident but a lot of accidents can be avoided or minimised with better management or oversight.

      • Compo… they are going to replace the car, it will probably be the same and/or better and they are giving her a loan car until they work out the insurance. If they don't replace the car, it will get paid out at market value and that is usually much higher than resale value. What more could you possibly want? Car replaced or money back and a loan car to ease the inconvenience…

        And you do know what an accident is right? Big differences between accidents and negligence. Why should this company be punished for something that was totally beyond their control. If they let the 14yo work experience kid drive and he wrecked the car, sure, that's negligence. But an outside factor caused this, so, what could the dealer have done to prevent this unfortunate accident??

    • +4

      I completely understand accidents happen, and don't worry one of my first questions was if the mechanic was ok. No matter how you put this, it's an inconvenience, I posed the question on here to see what people's thoughts were… at the end of the day I'm hoping to ozbargain my way to negotiating a good deal

      • +1

        My best suggestion is, be reasonable, professional and calm. Don't go shooting for a '17 ZR6 Aurion as a replacement. Minimum I would settle for is exactly what you had. Same spec, same model, same year, same features, same colour, (same km if it's a demo)… you get the point. But keep pressure on them and tell them they can have their car back when yours is replaced. If they start with the "we can replace it with like for like but it's going to be $2000…" I would say lawyer up. They have a duty to return your car or one exactly like it at a minimum. Of course, if they offer you the same car but as a '17 MY, take it. And trust me, any car company will have last years model sitting around somewhere unsold that they could give you as a replacement.

        Don't give them anything unless you are getting an amazing upgrade or a shit load of extras. Being your car was a ZR, there isn't really anything above that. If it was a SX and they offered you a brand new ZR as replacement, but you had to pay, I would just try on a no, not paying. But who knows, like I said, if the price is right, why not?

        And remember, stay calm. Don't go into the dealer and start yelling and making demands. That will make them less likely to want to help you. They will help you, but if people act like tools, I use to just drag their shit out and make it way more painful for them. I'm on by the hour, your not wasting their time, you're wasting your own…

        I am keen to see how this all unfolds though. I've been there a few times, both as the technician that was involved in damaged customer vehicle (not my fault) and assisting customers that other technicians damaged their car.

        • Hi, yes we are aiming for like for like. We have been relatively calm throughout the process this far, as we ideally would like it to be as smooth as possible.
          Either way, I will update the post as it progresses. Thank you for your reply!!

        • @lemons4lime:

          Seems the dealer is doing the right thing here - If you keep a good relationship with them you may be able to apply some pressure to knock down the cost of a replacement vehicle or have some extras thrown in. Dealers want to keep loyal customers so I would think they would be somewhat flexible if you were to buy a replacement through them.

  • +4

    Brand new is $23,990 drive away for a 2017. You may only have to pay a small amount and get a brand new car, that's gotta be a win right?

    • And get them to throw in that two tone paint job as "compo" ;)

      • +4

        Sif a yaris will ever have decent colours ;)

    • Thanks for the info! Her last car got totalled on the Western Ring road by a neglegent truck driver (60kph into her while stopped in traffic) and this was her upgrade from an old Hyundai Getz. This Yaris was her upgrade! Seems she has no luck with cars…

      • I'm so sick of the accidents on that road, it is an epic death trap full of entitled speeding dangerous people (and I drive it daily).

  • +3

    By rights the dealer should just replace it with a new one but wait and see what games arise..:-(
    In the meantime you have their loan car to use so just wait until you get a response and go from there no point in fishing for expert guesses until then.
    I have had many cars serviced at dealerships (mostly toyota)… the process is usually a very quick oil change and a check to see if all the wheels are on the car then dump it in the car park and rip in the next one.
    Test drives usually only happen when the customer reports a problem and then they like to take the car owner with them to help pinpoint the fault.
    It is common for customers cars to be used for errands or in the case of special models a bit of a hoon out.
    Hang loose… & hope for a positive and simple solution.

    • +2

      Can confirm. We regularly used customer cars to run errands. It was more like, it needs a test drive after service/repairs, so let's slip past the post office and drop off the mail… And I have no doubt that some mechanics like to take the high end cars out for a "road test"

      Experience: I was a service technician/workshop supervisor/team leader/service advisor for about 10 years…

      If in doubt, put a dash cam in your car or a GPS tracker if you think hooning may be an issue.

      • Did you carry any Uber passengers?

        • +1

          It was a long time ago, and no uber existed… if had it have existed though… :D

      • +2

        The dealer I used to service my car at required dash cams to be disconnected before the service. Hmmmmmm

        • Mine too. What are they trying to hide?

      • +1

        You do know that using a vehicle that doesn't belong to you to "run errands" (or anything outside the reason why the vehicle was left in your care) is an unlawful use of that motor vehicle and the driver could be charged. The problem is that most owners won't know about it and I'll bet 100% you don't tell them either. Dealers should have a defined 'route' for test drives as this also protects the driver from claims of unlawful use.

        • +2

          Well aware of it. We had a designated "route" so if anyone was out road testing and had an issue, the next driver to do a test would spot them. The fact that it went past a local post office, bank and corner store were just convenient.

          I am just confirming people's "worst fears" that their pride and joy was sometimes used as someone else whore. No different to the a-holes that would come in for a test drive on a new car, take it for an hour and either thrash the living daylights out of it, or use it in place of a hire car to run their errands. Or worse, drive down the road, strip parts off it for their car and return it…

          I can't speak for every single dealer out there. But at worst, as I said, drop mail off on a road test. We wouldn't use customer cars for running other clients around in or going around picking up part deliveries. Dealers have plenty of service vehicles and demo vehicles that we can use. And don't think many service managers would say, "hey, we need to pick up an engine block from storage, just take Mr Johnson's Mustang for a road test and slip by and pick it up.."

      • I have a dash-cam and when I get it back from a service it's always unplugged.

  • +2

    Can i ask the obvious question rather than speculate what does her insurance company say.

    Even if toyota said they would handle it you still need to declare this to your insurance company.

    most new car insurance policies have become new for old replacement if written off within 2 or 3 years

    The fact it was the mechanic is toyota's issue on top of the well being of mechanic.

    It sucks, BMW did similar to us but it was an immediate we are getting you a new car and you can borrow this brand new one until it arrives specked to the same level.

    they have to follow due course and run it all by their insurance company but honestly i know it's an inconvenience but you have a car to use till they sort it out.

    It almost sounds like you might be fishing to see if you could get the money instead or something else on top of what you're potentially entitled to.

    Compensation this almost seems ridiculous, they know it's their fault and they have already given you a car to loan until it's resolved so you're not completely put out. i wouldn't even expect you lose anything out of pocket you might find they do something else token as a sorry

    • We have yet to contact her insurance company as they only determined the car to be a write off today (accident happened yesterday). The loan car was a lower model older Yaris, that's amazing BMW provided you a new car in the meantime!!
      She just wants like for like, the same year, model, colour and accessories… and not to be out of pocket one dollar.
      In regards to your comment about new for old replacement, as she purchased the roughly 6 month old used car from a Mitsubishi dealer, do you think she may be entitled to that?

      • In regards to your comment about new for old replacement, as she purchased the roughly 6 month old used car from a Mitsubishi dealer, do you think she may be entitled to that?

        Wait… I think everyone's under the impression this was done at a Toyota dealership.

        Was the accident done at a Toyota dealership or the selling dealership (Mitsubishi)?

        Long story short, she took it to our local Toyota dealership for the capped price servicing

        OK so the fact she bought it from Mitsubishi doesn't affect the replacement. It does however affect what you should expect as a replacement, as the car was clearly already a used car with some mileage on it

        Best case - new/demo 2017 Yaris ZR
        Worst case - $20,700 or a 2016 ZR with some mileage

        • I agree, she would be stoaked with your best case senario and think that the worst case senario is completely fair. What do you think we should do if they offer less than that? As this conversation will most likely be had tomorrow. Thanks in advance

        • @lemons4lime:

          Don't even be prepared for it. Obviously it comes down to what their insurance company determines the replacement value at, but there's such a small difference in price between your car and the new one that they'll hopefully sort something out.

          Put it this way, if they put you into a new or demo 2016/2017 Yaris ZR, I'm quite sure they've 'bought' a customer for life, as you and the gf would be pretty stoked. Plus because they're a Toyota dealer, they'd get rid of a Yaris :)

          Try and be open to colour choice and they'll be more likely to give you a car that's sitting on the lot

        • +1

          Yea I just did a bit of research, looks like a 2017 Yaris ZR is just under $24k. As you mentioned, I think suggesting an ex demo or used 2016/2017 ZR is fair. I think she will be flexible of colour too so fingers crossed. I'll let you know the outcome :)

      • as i said you need to contact her insurance company remarkably insurance companies are vampires available all night.only she and the insurance company know what was included in the deal she took.

        I'd be fairly certain toyota will do the right thing by you no multinational likes bad press.

        a 10 minute call to her insurance company will tell her whats going to happen rather than speculating, they may already know about it but won't advise you till you ask.

        She needs to look after her interests and inform them what has happened it will be in the terms and conditions relating to accidents.

        Considering the police have been involved if it was a speeding driver to blame and the car has been deemed a write off get on to them.

    • New for old replacement up to 2 years is common under 'decnet' insurance policies
      That said the clause usually reads when "vehicle purchased new or as a demonstrator"
      This likely means that OP & GF won't be eligible as it was purchased 6 months old from Mits not new from Toyota

      • yeah the second hand didn't come into it till later on

        I still don't know why they didn't contact the insurance company

        I thought it was law that a traffic accident that involved a collision with more than a thousand bucks damage low because some are barely worth that, had to be reported to the police.

        By proxy you are also obligated to notify your insurance company within x amount of time.

        I don't know why they were fishing for possibilities on here instead of talking to the people they should have been.

        • The insurance company has been contacted, but said that it won't be passed onto the claims department unless Toyota are unreasonable with their offer. Toyota have yet to let us know what the offer is, we are heading down there soon.

        • -1

          There is no such law. How would one know if it's $1000 or more anyway??

        • @chumlee:

          Hope your not on the road mate you obviously weren't paying attention

          If any of the following circumstances apply, the driver must also report these details to police as soon as possible within 24 hours [reg 287(3)]:
          If anyone is injured or killed in the accident
          If you have not given your details to each person as above
          If you have not been given the details of the other driver
          If a vehicle is towed or carried away by another vehicle
          If a fair estimate of the cost of repairing damage to property (other than to your own vehicle or property) is $3000 or more [see Road Traffic (Road Rules- Anciliary and Miscellaneous Provisions)

        • -1
        • @chumlee:

          1 it is a Law you provided your own links to legislation in the state where accident it took place.

          2 you have no minimum limit to damage set

          So yes there is a law stating you need to report to police

          (f) if any property is damaged or destroyed and neither the owner of the property nor any person representing the owner nor any member of the police force is present at the scene of the accident, must as soon as possible report in person full particulars of the accident at the police station that is most accessible from the scene of the accident if that station is open and, if it is not open, at the next most accessible station.

        • @lemons4lime:

          Do we get an update…?

        • -1

          @Toons: maybe go and check the definition of property under the road safety act in Victoria if you want but property does not mean a vehicle it means a property (house etc)

        • -1


          Is this not grasping at straws mate your just trolling this, every idea that pops into your skull to try and prove what??????

          Property is a motor vehicle under the PPS Act if it is built to be propelled wholly on land by a motor that forms part of it (but not if it runs on rails, tram lines or other fixed path), has a unique serial number and:

          up to the end of 30 June 2014 (the old definition) is also capable of travelling at more than 10km/hr OR has a total motor power greater than 200W.
          starting on 1 July 2014 (the new definition) the property is also capable of travelling at more than 10km/hr AND has a total motor power greater than 200W.

          Also since your using this particular event

          Police are required due to circumstances /

          Speeding driver - declared as cause
          Car written off - Major traffic accident
          God forbid that anyone was hurt but but likely given the written off statement the other thing your forgetting.

          Enjoy your day but i'm sure your going to be scouring the interweb for other ways to try and prove ??? god knows

          Argue with the people who write the laws

        • -1

          @Toons: just show me the legislation in Victoria that says $3000 and over police need to be called?? That's all I want to see so I can spread the word as many drivers would not be aware of this

        • @chumlee:

          mate said it above there is no minimum set in Vic so ambiguity on calculating cost was removed.

          once again from the legislation doc u linked read it properly if your actually concerned

    • +4

      That sign relates to theft of items in the car, another customer hitting yours while in the parking area etc. a test drive accident is a different matter and the mechanic and emoyef is most certainly responsible and should pay due care and attention.

      • Who says he wasn't paying attention? He said it was caused by another speeding driver.

        • Didn't say the mechanic wasn't paying attention. Just referring to the meaning of the sign.

    • +2

      Signs mean nothing legally
      If by law someone is responsible a sign, disclaimer or whatever has little to know real value
      If workshop is responsible they are responsible

  • +1

    Sounds like 3rd party at fault.
    You have insurance.
    You can put a claim in with your insurance (they may ask you pay excess up front) - they follow due process, identify at-fault party. At fault party (or their insurance) pays up…you get your excess refunded back to you.

    Though when it comes to assessing the written down value of the car, remember there is always wiggle-room…and if you can, buy the salvage and then sell it yourself as a wrecking proposition which will usually mean more money back in your pocket (if you have the time and inclination).

    • Best answer so far.

      Make the Toyota dealership give you an 'awesome' deal on a new car, eg $15k for a new 2017 Yaris ZR. Also make sure you get a refund on the remaining rego.

      Pocket the difference … you might come out a few $k ahead.

  • Speeding driver was at fault. Your insurance should be able to make them pay…

  • Following up this post :)
    Wish you all the best

  • I'd get your GF to ring her insurance and tell them what happened, see what they say

  • Gee not worth creating a whole new post. It's already taken care of…

  • +1

    whats the point of this thread, other than to tell a story?

    have heard many tales of mechanics taking cars for spins, its part of their job to do a quick road test before handover:

    . one of our companies directors had his beloved GT2 Porsche written off in the exact manner

    . back in the day picked up my tt supra from a mechanic, smelt "oddly" of exhaust and burnt rubber. safe to say never went back to them.

    . colleague dropped his camry off to get serviced at toyota, later sees the apprentice redline it out onto the main road. he had some colourful words with the manager there.

    . mate used to be a mechanic at a ferrari workshop close to a freeway. the "road tests" were much fun. reminds me of the news article a few years ago about a lambo mechanic getting caught speeding and having the car impounded, even though it was a customers car, who was a dr or something. the dr had to go to court or something to get his car back lol

    • +1

      This is why I do all my work on my Supra

      When I get shops to do alignments I stick around for the ~1 hour it takes

      When they take the car to test, I ask to go with them… they cannot refuse

  • You said the car was written off by "another speeding driver".
    I have interpreted that as the other driver being at fault.
    In that case the claim is against that driver's insurance and not the Toyota garage.
    It looks like Toyota are doing you a favour by lending you a car, but it could have been you, your girlfriend or a mate driving.
    If I had read it right, Toyota are not actually obliged to offer you anything.

    • Pretty sure Toyota still has a duty of care to you.

      So you have a claim against Toyota (ie since you handed them a car, you're entitled to your car back), and Toyota has a claim against the other driver (since they were at fault for the accident).

      So to say Toyota is not obliged to offer anything is wrong.

      • You know that piece of paper that you sign when you leave your car for service? Have you ever read it?

        • -1

          You can't sign all rights or responsibilities away.

          If that were true, all surgeons would just get you to sign a waiver for any surgery and there'll never be any malpractice ever again.

        • @CMH: You do have to sign your life away before any surgery now days

        • @Stevek1960: ah but it does not waive your right to litigation. The consent only says you have been fully informed (especially of complications) about the procedure snd you agree to having if done. I think last time, there was a signature to agree I would pay too!

          Nothing can waive away your right to sue for negligence- and negligence is sometimes an issue. We have had many examples of surgeons doing procedures they are not qualified for or have not have equipment or trained staff to fo.

          Even skilled surgeons make errors of judgement and mistakes.

        • @Sensiekatie: Exactly my point. They should know this, but I can see surgeons claiming that you've signed a waiver and you can't sue.

          Or would someone tell me that 4sure is right and that this poor bloke has to chase a 3rd party to get this mess sorted and that the Toyota garage can just wash their hands off it. I can imagine the issues arising from this, given you wouldn't have any first hand idea of what happened and have to take the mechanic's word for everything.

          Worse still, if the mechanic's version of events differ from the other guy, who are you going to side with?

          If the mechanic was found to be at fault, since it's going through your insurance, it would count against your premium (similar to letting someone else drive and they crashed the car).

          This version of events make absolutely no sense.

          However, re-reading 4sure's comment, I'm thinking that while Toyota is not obliged to offer A COURTESY CAR, they probably can let you have it, and charge it against the other guy's insurance. Otherwise you would go out and hire a car and chase them for the costs, and deny them a little bit of income while creating more trouble.

    • The Toyota dealer is doing THEMSELVES (and customer) a favor to ensure they don't end up in Today Tonight.

      • For what? Being the victim of a speeding driver? Helping the guy out by lending him a loan car?
        Get real.

  • If they end up claiminh on their own insurance, wouldn't that mean they don't get a refund on the remaining insurance, as the car was written off​?

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