Who do I take to court here?

xjst3070
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Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:04 pm

Who do I take to court here?

Postby xjst3070 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:56 pm

Hi Everyone,

So my girlfriend was riding her bike, in a bike lane on a suburban street, and a driver opened their car door into her. My girlfriend ended up with a severely broken leg, fractured ribs and a few other minor injuries. Along with that, her bike was quite badly damaged.

The woman who opened the door immediately took responsibility and filed a claim with her insurance company (RACV). We had two independent bike shops quote on repair/replacement, and submitted the quotes to RACV, however RACV insisted on taking the bike in to check themselves.

RACV then estimated a replacement cost about 30% less than the two quotes we obtained (After x-raying the bike and advising us the frame was fractured so it could not be repaired). Reluctantly, she accepted their lower offer, and was then told the "Scrap" value of the bike was $250, which would be deducted from the amount paid to her (and the wrecked bike returned). The bike has damage to pretty much everything, and has no resale value what so ever that I can see. We took the wreck to a couple of bike shops who agreed, one even said they would charge us for disposal. Long story short, she is left with just over 50% of the replacement cost of the bike, which she has not accepted.

I have called up RACV on her behalf and disputed it however RACV will not budge, nor provide any information about how they came to their conclusions on repair costings or scrap value. Every time we call, when end up being told we will be called back "within 24 working hours", which is a nice way to say 3 business days, making this drag on for months now (The accident was in July).

My next step is to send RACV a letter of demand along with a notification of intent to take legal action. My understanding is that, based on the value of the claim, the magistrates court hearing would go to arbitration and cost around $240 in fees.

My question is, who do I take to court? RACV or the woman who opened the door? From my understanding, RACV have taken over financial liability for the matter, but does that mean my court case will be against them directly, or do I need to notify and lodge the claim against the woman who opened the door?

Also, in case it does go to court, am I in a position to pursue the whole replacement cost of the bike based on my quotes (and can I claim court costs at arbitration? so ~$1700 + $237.50) or can I only pursue what I have requested in writing from RACV (ie the lower amount they initially agreed to pay?)
'
(Pre-emptively) Thanks for your input!

Hardy
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Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby Hardy » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:53 pm

If the insurer refuses to pay you what you deserve, you send the person who caused for the accident a bill, then sue that person if the bill is not paid. At court you will need to satisfy the court that the pre-accident value of the bike was more than what the insurer was offering.
The insurer should be paying you the full amount of the bike and if they think there is salvage value they should arrange the salvage on their own or provide you with the name and address of the person who is happy to pay you that salvage amount.

You can claim filing fees, service fees, interest and legal fees if you win your case.

allde
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Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby allde » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:42 pm

Isn't her friend with the broken leg also covered by the TAC, with regards to loss of earnings and medical bills?

Hardy
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Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby Hardy » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:32 pm

Yes, but this is about the bike.
I have had a few bike accidents and not once has any insurer had any problem paying 100% of the bill my bike shop produced.

allde
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Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby allde » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:04 pm

Hardy wrote:Yes, but this is about the bike.
I have had a few bike accidents and not once has any insurer had any problem paying 100% of the bill my bike shop produced.


Ok, Thanks Hardy, I was just posting about the TAC in case they haven't applied for it yet.

xjst3070
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:04 pm

Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby xjst3070 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:40 pm

Hi Hardy,

Thanks for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.

I find it really strange they are dragging their feet this much over a claim of less than $1500, especially the extent they are going to in trying to avoid paying out the full amount. The quotes we got were very reasonable for repair cost (cost for parts plus the bare minimum for labour). The market/replacement value for the bike is clear-cut (it is a brand name bike with very little ambiguity about its cost) and we have documented evidence it was in excellent condition before the accident.

Their independent x-ray of the bike, as well as couriers from us to them, to their bike reviewer, then back to us, all to save a few hundred dollars seems ridiculous.

I'll let you all know how this turns out anyway. Thanks again!

Hardy
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Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby Hardy » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:47 pm

My guess is they have employed an assessor who is on a base salary plus bonuses based on how much he can save his employer by getting claims reduced. You just have to push back against that sort of game by not accepting the discounted settlement figure and being prepared to take the person at fault to court.

xjst3070
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Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:04 pm

Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby xjst3070 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:25 pm

Hardy wrote:My guess is they have employed an assessor who is on a base salary plus bonuses based on how much he can save his employer by getting claims reduced. You just have to push back against that sort of game by not accepting the discounted settlement figure and being prepared to take the person at fault to court.


Thanks again for your input on this. A couple of days ago I sent through a letter of demand to the driver and a copy to RACV, with an indication I was going to proceed with legal action. Had a call the next day from the claims manager who immediately agreed to pay the full amount as was detailed on our quotes.

Good result but frustrating it had to come to threatening legal action to get a just outcome. That is insurance companies I guess...

Thanks again!

Day
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:51 pm

Re: Who do I take to court here?

Postby Day » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:19 pm

Great news and thanks for the update! :mrgreen:


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