Minor Car Accident - Not Sure if at Fault

Hi all,

Just need some quick advice on a small vehicle accident which occurred to me on Sunday night.

I was at a shopping centre car park, reversing out and was about 3/4 out when my right-back bumper colliding with another car's left-back bumper of whom started reversing (and didn't see me..?) in the opposite direction.

My vehicle is virtually unscathed whilst the other vehicle had some damage - I was on a higher elevation so their rear light and bumper were damaged enough to require repairs.

Although I believe the other driver was at fault, I was happy to say we hit each other and leave it at that, the other person also agreed. We exchanged details and information.

They have now texted me with an invoice they received for repairs for $900 and asking me: "How do you want to go about it from here?". Whereas my vehicle's damage is negligible and I will not look at getting repairs done.

I was under the impression that they would sort their damage out, and that I was responsible for my own damage.

Additionally, their license I took a picture of was expired and they were a 'provisional' driver which had expired a year ago and they did not display 'P' plates - maybe they provided me an older license? Probably not relevant but may be if police are involved and they are legally not allowed to drive…?

Does anyone have any advice as to how to approach this or have been in a similar situation?

I don't necessarily want to get insurance involved and be forced to claim and pay an excess etc. Especially as I believe I wasn't at fault. My girlfriend was in my passenger's seat as a witness and the other vehicle only had a single driver and no passengers.

Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

PHOTOS - My car is the silver Astra, the other party's is the white Corolla.

https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/171131/69212/toyota1.j...

https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/171131/69211/astra1.jp...

Comments

  • +20 votes

    We need our complimentary Microsoft paint of what happened to determine fault.

  • +20 votes

    So you were both reversing? That means you're both at fault most likely if it's how I am picturing your description. For an accident in a carpark where both parties are reversing, I'd be pretty sure any insurance claim would find both parties 50% at fault each.

    Your best move if you don't want to involve insurance, is to ignore them and go about your business. They have no legal standing to get money out of you by sending you a text. If they then engage their own insurance, they you'll likely have to pay your excess and let the insurance companies fight it out.

    Don't be bullied by the other party. If you are feeling bullied, pay your excess and let the insurance take over. Your insurance company is essentially your lawyer in this situation, and unfortunately as you were 50% at fault, you have to pay for them to represent you.

    •  

      This ^^^. You should both pay for your own damage.

      • +1 vote

        That's not how it works. They claim half the damage against you $450 and you claim half the damage against them $0. So this means you owe them $300. In reality you would ignore them but if they involved their insurance company then you would get a quote for your repair and past that onto your insurance company and get them to fight it out.

  • -3 votes

    If you don't want to get insurance involved and for $900 ($450 each it's likely not worth it).

    I would either go 50/50 with them and write it off as bad luck or get a quote for the small damage on your car and send it to them, with any luck its a similar price and you can both just sort your own cars out.

    • +2 votes

      I'm guessing from the photo your probably happy to not bother getting the bumper fixed but if they aren't happy each paying their own then you should 100% get a quote even if you don't follow through. Your probably looking at $400 for touching up the paint work of $900 to replace, not worth doing or a scratch.

      I'd respond you that you haven't got around to having your's checked out and suggest you each just pay your own repairs. Most of the time carparks are automatic 50-50 liability.

  • +26 votes

    Tell him your damage comes to $900 as well to repair and so you both break even by paying your individual repairs. If you agreed you are both at fault then there's no reason you pay for this repairs.

  • +24 votes

    How do you want to go about it from here?

    If you're going down the "both equally at fault" track, just tell them that you will pay for the damage to your car, and they can pay for the damage to their car.

    •  

      Probably the right answer here.

    • +1 vote

      Should have that agreement written though.

    • -1 vote

      If you're going down the "both equally at fault" track, just tell them that you will pay for the damage to your car, and they can pay for the damage to their car.

      It’s in OP’s best interest to try this and hope they accept it as fair.

      Unfortunately the law is each party would pay 50% of the other persons damages – OP will be out of pocket unless their damages are the same amount

      • -1 vote

        There is no law that forces people to pay 50% of each other's damage. Magistrates decide how to apportion damage, and each party fixing their own vehicle is absolutely a possible outcome.

        • -1 vote

          If it went trial ​and you were ​​aportioned ​50% ​​liability then YES ​the law says ​you need to pay ​50%​ of the other parties loss.​

          Negotiated settlements before court could be anything ​but the above ​is the basic civil law principle​ that negotiations would begin from.

  • +6 votes

    Although I believe the other driver was at fault

    How? Neither of you were aware of the other car, so neither of you were taking sufficient care when reversing. On your description, both of you were at very much at fault, by the same amount, and both of you should hand in your licences.

    Let's say it was a child you reversed into instead of another car. Would it be the child's fault?

    Taking proper care while reversing means continuing to look the whole time that you are reversing.

  • +4 votes

    He's driving with expired licence….I mean you could bring the police up but I'm sure they'd rather not…

    • +12 votes

      Expired licence means he shouldn't be on the road, which means his would be 100% at fault, also no insurance for him.

      OP tell him you called your insurance to make a claim and you passed on his expired licence details, and your insurance asked you to get his current licence details for the record. If he tries to get out of it, there is your easy out. If he has a current licence, pick where to go from there.

      • +11 votes

        An expired licence does not affect liability and does not make the other party 100% at fault.

        You are correct about insurance, they won't be covered.

  • +1 vote

    Both equally at fault, 50/50 split in damages.

    If other party wants to go down the insurance route, make sure you get your car fixed too, won't cost any extra.

  • +2 votes

    I'd be putting this through insurance and letting them sort it out, including the damage to your vehicle. The probabilities are that the net cost, especially once you factor in your time (and the potential for grief with the other party) will be of negligible difference between the two.

    As an aside, if I'm in an accident and the other party cannot produce a valid licence, it's straight on the phone to the po-po and get them out to sort out what's going on. If nothing else, the inability to hold and carry a valid licence does not auger well for any form of settlement.

  • +9 votes

    Both equally at fault and other driver is unlicenced.

    If they want to fight it then ask them to meet you at the police station and make a statutory declaration of the events.

    •  

      Best answer.

    •  

      I'm genuinely curious; does it really make a difference for them to sign a statutory declaration? If they are willing to lie about it in the first place, why wouldnt they just continue with it since there's no evidence to show otherwise?

      •  

        Would you sign a court admissible document in front of a police officer that says "I was driving without a licence and had a crash…"

        They won't bother the OP anymore after that.

        •  

          How about signing a court admissible document in front of a police officer that says "I was driving and had a crash…"

          They could've just said they accidentally took the old license out from their wallet and gave it to OP. Nothing wrong with that?

          •  

            @ravonda: You don't think the Police Officer would ask to see proof of ID and a licence? OP just has to inform the Police Officer that the other person didn't have a valid licence and that will prompt an action..

  • +4 votes

    You may have damage behind the bumper that cannot be seen so go see a panel beater and get a quote.

    This is a both at fault accident and each pays their own

    I would tell other party you will report it to police. If they are unlicensed they will cop a large fine

  • +9 votes

    Get a quote. Go direct to the dealer for your car, make sure they notice any tiny thing that might have been caused by the accident. Send the other driver the bill for $3k. Ask how they want to proceed. Follow up in a week and ponder why their number is disconnected.

    • +3 votes

      This is what I would do. Go and get a quote on my own car, make sure it's more than what the other party is asking for and ask them "so, how did you want to pay for this?"

    •  

      Cheers guys, I think I'll take this advice. Appreciate it!

  • +1 vote

    Keep in mind that your damage might be minor but the labour cost is more. Your cost might well be $600 for a tiny scratch. Maybe get a quote of your own. Drop in a few times that you are also happy letting it go to the insurers.

  •  

    Might be worth saying that you'll have to lodge a police report and give a copy of their license to the police. Personally I agree…anyone only starting to back out should be at fault where someone else is already almost fully backing out. Sadly this isn't how the law works or car parks.

    Suggest you are happy to pay for the damages to your own car if they look after theirs…otherwise you'll speak to our insurance co. and hand in the details of their license to the police to get a stat dec…if they were in fact unlicensed I doubt they will want the cops involved and checking the validity of their license and issuing a fine for driving without a license.

  • +2 votes

    How about you taking the stance that you were both reversing at the same time BUT when you saw the other party reversing you immediately stopped. The other party continued to reverse and then hit your car.
    Remember, the best form of defence is offense, so, go out and get a quote for your car and send it to the other party. Claim that as they hit your stationary car you want compensation.

  • +5 votes

    Just reply, hi whos this? I just signed up to this number via tpg a week ago???

    Lol

  • +1 vote

    You have some damage to your car that I'm guessing would require a new bumper. Get a quote for a replacement bumper for your car, even if it only comes to $700, then the difference is $200 and you can let them know you'll split the difference at $100.

  •  

    If you were both reversing at time of impact you are both at fault so basically you need to cover your own damage.

    Happened to me reversing out of my driveway at home with the old bloke across the road, I had all four of my wheels on the road and he just got his rear wheels on the road but because at time of impact we were both still rolling backwards it’s both at fault.

    If you were stopped and changing gears and they hit you then that’s a different story.

  •  

    Happened to me once. Joint fault if you're both reversing into each other. He can speak to his insurance and you speak to yours. But if you had no damage you don't even have to do that.

    Doesn't matter if the collision point was closer to your side or their side.

    If they're asking for money, file an insurance claim. They'll confirm whether or not you're at fault.

  • -2 votes

    PSA: Use your indicators to warn others when exiting a parking spot (or even using hazards depending on visibility).
    Also doing a quick walk around your car to check visibility.

    • +4 votes

      I mean, you already have reverse lights that indicate this exact thing.

      • +1 vote

        Use your indicators to warn others when exiting a parking spot (or even using hazards depending on visibility)

        That only works if people are looking, which seems to have been the problem here.

        And having your reverse or hazard lights on doesn't give you any kind of right-of-way anyway.

  •  

    It’s vitally important that you also get your own quote and you want it to be as high as possible

    Remember that if you’re both 50% at fault, you pay half of their damage and they pay half of yours.

  • +1 vote

    This is what happens when people are too lazy to reverse into a parking spot…

  • +2 votes

    Hi OP - I had a similar experience one day in a car park where I reversed out turning one way and the exact opposite happened with the other party from the other side. Much less damage to both cars than you described but as a precaution I called my insurer who said in a case like that liability would most likely be considered 50/50 at fault. If they make a claim against you it will most likely mean you both pay an excess and the insurance companies sort it out. In my case the other driver agreed to each look after damage to their own car. Good luck with yours.

    •  

      Also had a similar case, my wife reversed out from a parking spot and hit the back of another reversing car. Called insurance - they told me in these cases each driver will be responsible for fixing their own car's damage (not 50/50). Received a call from the other driver - told him to call insurance. He later left a demand letter with a quote in our mailbox - I ignored it. That was about 5 years ago. Haven't heard from him since.

  •  

    unless you are stationary, it might be considered 50/50.

    take your car to the most expensive body shop, pay them to get a quote and send it to the other party saying you want them to repair your car.

    It might encourage them to shut up.

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