It is usually better to sort out your claim with the other driver by negotiation rather than by going to court. Going to court may cost more money and is often very stressful.
Even if you go to court and win, the other person cannot be forced to pay more than they can reasonably afford. If the other person is not employed and has no assets, it may be very difficult to recover the money owed to you.
In making the decision as to whether to take the other driver to court you need to consider the financial position of the other person. If the other person is offering part payment or payment by installments it may be better to accept this rather than go to court. You may have to accept a smaller amount of money than you expected to get the other party to pay.
If an agreement is reached on settlement it should be recorded in writing and signed by the person or people agreeing to pay.
- Once you have worked out the likely liability you will need to write to the other driver (or their insurance company) and tell them the percentage at which you are prepared to settle.
You can start by offering a figure 10% or 20% higher and come down later if you want. For example, if you are advised that the other driver will ultimately be 50% liable, you may suggest they are 60% or 70% liable.
- Remember to write the words “Without Prejudice” at the top of any negotiation letters you write.
- Tell the other driver (or their insurance company) how much he/she will have to pay you or how much you will pay them if they accept your offer.
- Make sure you tell the other driver (or their insurance company) in your letter why it is that you think they are at fault. This will help them understand your offer.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.