Material Damage Claims
Road traffic accidents * are the most common of accidents and when it comes to personal injury claims *, the most common on claims for compensation. Road traffic accidents * can occur in a number of ways – car accidents, bus accidents, motorbike accidents, bicycle accidents, * etc. What do you do if you are involved in an accident * where you haven’t sustained any injuries, but your car was damaged as a result. The damages to your car are called Material Damages. Below is a guide to material damage claims for those who have been involved in an accident.
What are material damages?
Material Damage refers to damage to your vehicle or personal property in an accident caused by another person’s negligence. In these cases, their insurance company of the person at fault for the damage will usually be held responsible for the damage to your car.
What can I do if my vehicle is damaged but I suffer no personal injury *?
In cases where the accident is caused by another individual than the other person’s insurance company will be responsible for the damage. Immediately following a collision where your car has been damaged, you should call the Gardaí and report the accident. A Garda may attend the scene of the accident, depending on the severity of the crash etc.
Following you have reported this to the Gardaí, it is important that you take note and record any important information at the scene:
- take photos of damage to both vehicles.
- take photos of the position of the cars at the time of impact.
- note the position of any CCTV cameras
What costs can be recovered following material damage?
In some scenarios, the accident might not have been your fault. If so, you can reclaim the following for the damage caused:
- Cost of repair of your vehicle
- Car hire, if you needed to hire a car while yours if not fit for the road
- Value of the vehicle in cases where a vehicle is a write off following a collision
- Cost of damage to personal property in the vehicle that may have been damaged or broken in the accident
- Towing and storage costs, if you could not drive your vehicle following the accident.
Assessing the cost of the material damage to your vehicle
After the accident, you will need to have your car assessed at a local garage. They can provide you with an estimate of the cost of repair of the material damage. The insurance company commonly arrange for their own mechanic to assess damage to your vehicle. A settlement amount will be a reflection of the damage to the vehicle.
If there is a dispute and you cannot agree on a compensation amount for the material damages to your car offered by the other driver’s insurance company then you can appoint your own motor assessor to assess the damage and suggest an amount.
In normal circumstances, the agreement can usually be reached in the difference in the estimate of the material damage between the two quotes. If agreement cannot be reached, or if liability is an issue between the parties then Court proceedings may have to be commenced to determine the dispute.
The person who caused the collision does not have insurance or fled the scene without, what can I do?
In cases, your car can be damaged and the driver might have fled the scene. If so, you will need to contact the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). They cover accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers. In MIBI cases you must cover the first €250.00 of material damages and the MIBI should pay the balance.
Moving forward with a Material Damage Claim
If agreement cannot be reached on how much compensation is owed to you or if liability (who is at fault) is an issue between you and the other driver then to move forward with a material damage claim, you will need to have court proceedings issued to move the matter forward and come to a resolution. Your own insurance company should represent you in such proceedings. The costs of such proceedings should be covered by your policy of insurance.
If you have not been injured in the accident and would like to move forward with a claim for material damages, most clients find dealing directly with the insurers on the issue the most time efficient way to get your car back on the road!