Rear-Ended by an Uninsured Driver Who Says He Can't Pay. What Are My Options? (I'm Uninsured as Well)

The accident happened in QLD. I don't have comprehensive insurance (I was declined because my licence was suspended 2 years ago for speeding). The guy who rear-ended me doesn't have comprehensive insurance or third party property insurance. I'm gonna get some smash repair quotes tomorrow. I'm guessing it'll cost in excess of $5K

He says he can't afford to pay me back. What are some of my options? Here's what I came up with:

  1. Letter of demand via a lawyer —> go to court. Problem: even if he was ordered to pay up and he refuses, there's probably nothing I can do about it.
  2. Installments directly to me - I just don't trust the guy on this.
  3. Ask him to take out a personal loan from a bank to cover my repairs, then pay the bank in installments.

All advice appreciated.

Addit:

  • I only have the standard QLD Compulsory Third Party Insurance. No third party property or comprehensive insurance.

Comments

  • +8 votes

    Bikies

  •  

    No 3, if he agrees to do it.
    I don't like your chances on the other two options.
    No 4: Bikies?

  •  

    In all seriousness I doubt he will go for option 3. Option 1 is really your only option.
    Talk to your third party insurer and double check your coverage.

  • +5 votes

    Make everything legal, report to police that you were hit by uninsured car. Inform your own insurance. And I would suggest going through a lawyer.
    Being not able to afford to pay back is not an option, he should not be driving then

    • +1 vote

      It sounds like OP doesn't have insurance.

    •  

      Going through a lawyer? Good idea if there is money that can be recovered. If there is not money that can be recovered, it's another expense. The very first actions should probably be exploring free or cheap options, such as checking land titles for assets/mortgage. OP needs to decide to chase or cut his losses. The act of bankrupting someone is hella expensive and you don't want to be left holding that baby.

      •  

        Police don’t care whether Unit 1 driver is uninsured. They will however take a traffic crash report due to the damage exceeding the value threshold.

  • +2 votes

    Do you have any insurance yourself? Even third party insurance often pays out (a small amount) for damage caused by uninsured drivers. Check your policy. If you have it, make a claim and let the insurer sort out recovering from the other guy

    A lawyer making a demand gets you nowhere - I mean, all it does is get you to option 2 or 3. If you want something more powerful than a letter you need to go to court and get a judgement, which then puts you into option 2 and 3 anyway.

    Basically if he doesnt have money then he doenst have money. You cant get anything if there is nothing.

    •  

      Genuine question. Can the court bankrupt him if the judgment goes against the offender and he can't pay?

      •  

        I believe there needs to be someone paying for the bankruptcy to happen. It's not a public service. Something similar is happening with cancer fraudster Belle Gibson. She owes $400k in civil fines and is trying the Old Mother Hubbard defence. The ACCC has likely spent well in excess of the fines owed pursuing Belle and probably won't get back much at all.

  •  

    Option 1 before you can go down path of option 2.

    Option 3 isn't possible unless he agrees.

    Before all of this, I would find out more on the uninsured driver. Does he own a house/mortgage (do a property title search on address given
    if need be) or renting/boarding? Employed? Any other assets you can dig up?

    If he really has no assets there's no point. You do have about 5 years I think it is to lodge civil action so if he does come into money then pursue it at this time

  •  

    You need to form your own judgement on whether it's worth pursuing him, as the pursuit costs money itself. What car was he driving and condition?

  •  

    You don't have comprehensive but do you have third party?

    •  

      CTP insurance is included with vehicle registration in Queensland.

      • +9 votes

        this is just a "tax" to assist people who are injured in motor vehicle related accidents. it does not cover any motor vehicle damage.

      •  

        OP stated they have third party property. Not just CTP.

        •  

          I only have the standard QLD Compulsory Third Party Insurance. No third party property or comprehensive insurance.

          OP have Qld CTP which covers personal injuries.

          • +6 votes

            @whooah1979: My bad. Misread it.

            Effectively OP has no insurance.

            OP: go and get some insurance before you find yourself in the other drivers situation, but with a multi million dollar insurance company chasing you for the cash.

            • +1 vote

              @Euphemistic: Yup. No mercy for the uninsured. It takes a very selfish person to decide that everyone else can deal with their poor financial decision.

      •  

        There is your first mistake. You are just as guilty as the driver that hit you. I was going to say out of principle go through the courts and make him file for bankruptcy but you’re half to blame for the situation you’re facing.

  • +8 votes

    Option 1 is the only way I would recommend.

    1. Report the accident to the police to get an event number or equivalent
    2. Go to a lawyer this week
    3. Get a quote for the repairs, get two if possible.
    4. Some lawyers at this point, might suggest writing a letter of demand. I would instruct them to skip this step. [because the solicitor drafts/sends another letter = makes money, but says it could be cheaper for you to avoid court]
    5. Ask your lawyer to prepare a liquidated statement of claim (to cover legal fees, legal costs and the quote for repair).
    6. Best if your lawyer can file the statement of claim by close of business this week. [this will incur court filing fees]
    7. Your lawyer will serve it on the other driver (oh, assuming you got his correct details otherwise they won't be able to correctly serve the filed s.o.c upon him/her) [this will incur a process server fee - around $80]
    8. At this point, the "pressure" is on the other person because that person now has strict time frames to file a defence OR to finalise your claim. [e.g get a loan and pay you out]. You have a better chance at getting your 'costs' at this point because going to court is 'scary'
    9. If the person refuses to file a defence, a court may make default judgment against that person.
    10. If the judgment is not finalised by that person, you apply for a garnishee order.

    Good luck.

  • +3 votes

    At fault or not at fault if you don't have insurance (third party at minimum - not CTP), then chances are you're royally screwed.

  •  

    So let me get this right. You got busted for speeding but caused no accidents and insurance company then cancelled your insurance for 'reasons'. So now you can longer legally be insured FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE????

    How long has this BS been going on?
    Cos I don't really care if you speed as long you aren't a dangerous driver. I DO care if you run into me and can't afford to pay for the damage?

    • +2 votes

      You got busted for speeding but caused no accidents and insurance company then cancelled your insurance for 'reasons'. So now you can longer legally be insured FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE????

      That isn't how it works.
      After doing an insurance policy for a family member some companies have restrictions saying they wont cover you for upwards of 5 years after the matter was finalised. That if you where caught speeding '+40km/h over the limit or had a suspended license due to racking up too many points/drunk/drug driving' etc.
      It isn't a 'life sentence' the OP will be able to get comprehensive insurance again. Might even be able to get it from next year for some insurance companies provided they don't repeat what they did in the meantime. The idea behind it is to make people learn from their mistakes in the non-insurable period.

    •  

      Was declined due to a licence suspension, not just speeding. No, they will not decline your insurance for ever more, but most companies will consider you a big risk and either decline or up your premium significantly to cover the extra risk. The more budget the insurance the less likely they will be to accept to policy. They may also decline insurance you have had at fault incidents. Typically they will look at your 5yr driving history to determine your risk factor and therefore your potential premiums. They will often accept TPP policies from ‘risky’ drivers.

      I had a licence suspension for speeding many years ago and currently have full comprehensive. At the time I removed myself as a listed driver from my wife’s car to save money, but was still insured on my company car.

      •  

        OK cheers, that makes more sense…but still doesn't help anyone involved in an accident with a person who the insurance companies refused to insure.

        •  

          Which is why you should have your own comprehensive insurance. Having third party property sometimes have coverage up to a few thousand if you get by by someone uninsured, but comprehensive covers your vehicle anyway.

          • +1 vote

            @Euphemistic: But there are sometimes extenuating circumstances. For example my car, which is in A1 condition got written off due to hail damage a couple of years back. I kept the car because it runs well. However I can only get 3rd party property damage so if someone writes me off then I will be out of pocket for a new car. Denying people at least 3rd party property insurance is culpable IMO.

        •  

          Op could have got 3rd party from an insurer, likely at a higher rate, but obviously didn't want to. There are always ways.

  • +1 vote

    Option 1 is the only one that has any hope of getting you any compensation here.

    Option 2 … you'll agree to $20 a week, get two payments and that will be it.

    Option 3 … dreaming.

  •  

    Your only option is go to small claims court which can be a drawn out expensive process. In other words, you're stuffed mate.

  •  

    He says he can't afford to pay me back.

    Why? Are they employed? What sort of car did they have?

  •  

    I don't have comprehensive insurance… The guy who rear-ended me doesn't have comprehensive insurance or third party property insurance.

    What insurance do you have? Very intriguing choice of words and omissions.

    • +1 vote

      Response to your addit.

      You claim you cannot get comprehensive insurance so you decided not to be insured at all (barring CTP). If the roles were reversed, you'd be the one someone has hassles getting money from.

      If there was ever OzBargain karma, this is it.

  • +8 votes

    Laywer here. Pursue him in Court but unless you're incredibly time poor or anxious you don't need to engage a lawyer. Speak to registry staff at QCAT and commence a minor civil claim against the driver. https://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/matter-types/minor-civil-dispute...

    Once you get judgment against him you can pursue enforcement actions. Not sure about what options are available in Queensland but this may include getting a Bailiff to seize and sell his possessions, cars or property. In my experience once a Bailiff is at a debtors door taking their stuff they magically are able produce the money to pay.

    If he truly doesn't own anything just bankrupt the guy.

    •  

      That's some really nice insight.
      Do you happen to know if I can employ a debt collector service to collect instalments off him?
      Once I get a few quotes, I'm probably going to try and offer him the cheapest of the acceptable repair quotes and ask him to pay upfront within 2 weeks. If he says he can't do that, I'll ask him to state his reasons within those 2 weeks. If he states that he's in genuine financial hardship, I'll ask him to see how much he can pay now, and set a strict agreement in writing for instalments - instalments will have interest though.

  •  
    Merged from If you take an at-fault driver to court, do you claim for the value of the damages or for the receipts you paid for?

    Suppose you had a car crash and the at-fault driver was uninsured, and they weren't going to pay. You decide to take him to court. I'm trying to figure out what value I could claim:
    1. Repairs with new Genuine or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts
    2. Repairs with new Aftermarket parts.
    3. Repairs with Refurbished/reconditioned or Used/salvaged parts.
    4. Actual or market value of the car (if the car is a write-off)

    Can you the value of the damages for 1., if you went ahead with 3 or 4 because they didn't pay in time?

    I'll probably get legal advice if it gets to that stage, but thought I'd do a bit of research first.

    • +2 votes

      If the work has been done, receipts. If you want to overcharge, don't get the work done until after the case.

    • +5 votes

      Damages = loss, so whatever your actual economic loss is

    •  

      You can claim to have the car restored to its original condition - however should you win the case there is actually nothing to say you must have the car repaired, you could just trouser the money.
      That is of course provided the other party actually pays up. If they don't then it could be a nightmare getting the money, involving court orders etc. Even then there is no guarantee of payment - the other party could just declare bankruptcy and you would be out of pocket a considerable amount in legal fees, and still no money for your damaged car

    •  

      Can you claim through your insurance and let them handle it. If found they are at fault, you do not have to pay excess. Save you time and stress by going to court.
      I had an scenario where my mum was not at fault but the other party said that she hit their car. There was no damages or scratch to my mum's car. My insurance found my mum was not at fault. But other party said there was damaged to their car and bring it to court. My insurance paid them in the end but we don't have to pay excess. It was the company decision to pay other party.
      Best of luck

    •  

      Just keep in mind that obtaining a Judgment doesn't mean the at-fault driver will pay or have the funds to pay. Obtain legal advice.

  •  

    Update:
    So the other driver is trying to get me to go see a mechanic whom he knows and says can beat any other smash repairers' quotes. He's insisting that I get a quote from this mechanic.
    I've already seen quite a few smash repairers and they all say its a repairable write off.
    My concern is that this mate of his is going to cut corners, leave out significant details, use crappy parts etc. This driver just doesn't want to pay up.
    What should I say to this guy?

    •  

      It's either that or the courts.

      Sounds like this guy got the upper hand on you.

      Insurers will still insure people in your situation comprehensively. You just gotta pay the "speeding tax".

      •  

        So…letter of demand to pay up within 14 days and then court?

        •  

          1 month. Court wants to see you've given a reasonable timeframe.

          Also get 2 or 3 quotes. Again not legally required but strengthens your case that it is a reasonable amount.

          If it's a write off then you need to have supporting documentation: Redbook prices, odometer readings, logbook, etc. May not need to be included but mention the details in the letter. Make sure you actually document and have a copy of everything for the court if it comes to that.

          Also mention why you're holding them liable, quote specific rules/law.

          •  

            @CMH: It can't be a write off as insurance isn't involved.

            What car is it op?

            •  

              @brendanm: Well, I said write off but what I really meant was if damages are more than the value of the vehicle.

              It is definitely the case where you can't claim for more than the value of the car immediately before the collision, before you add on other things such as car hire.

              •  

                @CMH: As op has no insurance, his car is likely old and of low value. That's why I asked what car it is, probably an old falcon worth $2k max, so cost of repairs will always be higher than cost of the car. As the other driver was also uninsured, they likely have no money and ops court order will end up getting him $5 a week.

  •  

    If you can’t afford the insurance you can’t afford a car.

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