Questions you Should Ask your Smash Repairer

By | General | No Comments

Following an accident, you are likely to be working closely with a smash repairer.  The job of a smash repairer is to fix the body of your vehicle and get it back to an as good as new, factory-quality state so that you are able to drive it safely once again.  The smash repairer might repair a damaged part of your vehicle, or perhaps order and install a replacement part.  For the most part, this work will revolve around the vehicle’s body, paint, and windows only, and the inner workings of the car will be handled by someone else.  Regardless of the severity of the accident and the damage done to your vehicle, it is important to stay in constant communication with your smash repairer, and to know what to ask to get the answers you need.

What are the quality standards of your work?

This may not sound like a very specific question, but you can use the smash repairer’s answer to help you determine whether or not he or she pays attention to detail.  The smash repairer might mention being sure that the vehicle can steer easily after work has been completed, that it sounds better than it did when it was dropped off, or that the paint perfectly matches the existing color.  Small details like this can make a big difference.

How long will the work take to complete?

Smash repairers might not like this question, but do not let them get away without giving you at least some kind of time estimate.  This gives them a goal that they must adhere to, or risk losing your patronage in the future.  Of course, if something really does come up, be patient, but remind the repairer that you were quoted a specific amount of time that has been exceeded.  This can help keep your repairs on track.

Who is responsible for talking to the insurance?

Ask the smash repairer if the paperwork and documentation of your repairs can be filed by them, or if you must do it.  Most of the time, a smash repairer can file the paperwork, which will surely save you a lot of time.  It is also important to find out whether or not you must file the complete claim with your provider before repairs can begin.  If you are not at fault for the accident, ask for very specific information about how to file a claim for the damages.  The other party’s insurance provider may try to get out of paying if you do not file correctly.

How much will it cost?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to ask for the complete and total estimate of the cost of repairs before you get any work done.  Your insurance provider might want to have the estimate before repairs can begin, as well.  When you are given the estimate, make it very clear that you are going to shop around before you make a decision.  A legitimate smash repairer will be happy for you to compare his or her prices to a competitor, because you will surely come back once you have done so.

Insurance Company Refusing to Pay for Rental Car

By | General | No Comments

Being involved in a vehicle collision is traumatic enough. The terrifying moment of the crash will replay in your head over and over. The sound of metal slamming against metal is something you don’t forget easily. You may even have to live with long-term injuries as a result of the crash. To add insult to injury, the proceeding insurance process is often complex and tiresome.

If the accident wasn’t your fault, the guilty party’s insurance company is liable for all the damages. These damages will include repairs to the car, health costs, and even a replacement rental car. Unfortunately, it’s rarely as straightforward as it seems! Even if the accident was categorically not your fault, the insurance company may fight you. In many cases, they won’t reimburse or pay for the cost of a courtesy rental car. Remember, insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. If you’ve found yourself in that position, here are some of the reasons why they might be holding back the money. More importantly, here’s how to deal with it.

They’re disputing the fault

In many cases, insurers have no option but to assume all blame and damages. However, if there are any small discrepancies, they’ll use it as leverage. They may make a counterclaim based on comparative negligence. In other words, they’ll come back to you and your insurer, claiming that the accident wasn’t 100% their client’s fault. It’s very difficult to prove 100% blame, so there is often a small point of leverage. In their counterclaim, they may say that they’ll accept all the majority of the damages, but won’t pay for the rental car.

Your car is in the repair shop for longer than they deem necessary

One of the most common issues here is the length of repair. When your car is involved in an accident, it must be fixed and treated by professional mechanics. Depending on the amount of damage, it could be anything up to a month in the repair shop. If the guilty party’s insurers believe that the repair job took longer than necessary, they may refuse to pay. Alternatively, they’ll payout the amount they deem is ‘reasonable’. Instead of 30 days rental, they’ll reimburse you for 15. Retrospective payments like this are often difficult to deal with, unless it has been agreed up front.

Contact a lawyer

In instances like this, it’s worth seeking the advice of a lawyer. At this point, they can step in and review the counterclaim by the insurance company. In some cases, all it takes is a lawyer’s name to scare off the insurers, and they’ll quickly pay out.

Speak to the team at Acorn Rentals

The team at Acorn Rentals offer free courtesy cars to everyone who have been involved in an accident. When it’s not your fault, they seek payment from the guilty party’s insurers instead. As you can imagine, they’ve had their fair share of experience dealing with stubborn insurers! They know how to negotiate effectively with insurance companies, and make sure you get that money back.

Don’t let a stubborn insurance company bully you out of your costs and expenses!

Car Accident Rental Car Reimbursement

By | General | No Comments

The cost and hassle of car accidents are often extortionate and confusing. It’s even more infuriating if that crash wasn’t actually your fault. You’re left with the immediate damages to cover, and no car while it gets repaired. The only choice is to rent a courtesy car, while yours is in the shop. If the crash wasn’t your fault, it’s not fair that you have to pay for a courtesy car. So, you can hire a free rental car, paid for by the guilty party’s insurance company. That courtesy car is all yours until your old car is fixed.

The stress and cost involved in a car accident is already high enough. You may have injuries that require medical attention, and traumatic stress from the incident itself. The last thing you want is the worry and hassle of finding a new courtesy car. A good rental company will take all of those problems out of your hands, by providing you with a free rental car. If it sounds too good to be true, don’t worry, there really aren’t any catches. The costs are covered by the party at fault, and here’s how it all works.

Why can I get a free rental car after a crash?

You can get free access to a courtesy rental car after an accident because you need a quick replacement. You don’t want this crash to impact your everyday life any more than it has to. The reason it’s free is because the accident was not your fault. You didn’t cause the collision, so you don’t deserve to pay any of the repercussions. By law, the offending party must cover all the costs of liability involved with the accident. That will include the cost of repair to your car. It will include any health care costs, and any long-term injury problems. And, in this case, it will cover the cost of hiring a courtesy car while your car is off the road. Simple!

Who pays for it?

The entire deal is paid for by the insurance company of the guilty party. By providing the rental company with the contact details of the insurance company, they’ll chase them for payment. If there is some doubt over the liability, the process isn’t always instantaneous. In this case, you may need to pay the rental price up front. But, don’t worry. Once the liability is settled, the rental company will send a letter of demand to the third party insurer. Once they get the money back, you’ll be instantly reimbursed.

How does it work?

One rental company that prides itself on providing free courtesy cars is Acorn Rentals. As a driver, all you need to do is head to their ‘apply’ page, and make your first application. If the liability has already been quickly settled, the process is easy. You’ll get approval, and they’ll arrange delivery and collection immediately. As we explained before, if there is doubt over liability, it may take a little longer. It’s worth noting that you are also entitled to a free courtesy car if it was your fault and your insurance covers a replacement vehicle. Simply drop the rental company a copy of your insurance policy when you apply.

If the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the inconvenience.

A Guide to Determining Who is at Fault in a Car Accident

By | General | No Comments

The first question you’ll ask after a car accident is, “Is everyone alright?”. But the second is almost always “Who’s fault was that?!” Assigning blame is the most important aspect of determining insurance payouts. Remember, the guilty party is responsible for paying the damages and compensation incurred in the crash. It’s a big hit to take, as your insurance policy will shoot up as a result. It’s best to try to assign blame as soon as possible. The longer the investigation goes on, the less credible the evidence. The more we forget about the incident, and the more the facts are bent. Unfortunately, it’s rarely a simple process. No-one goes out intending to cause an accident. It’s never malicious, so it’s difficult to pinpoint blame. Here’s a guide to finding the best solution.

Using comparative negligence

It’s very tricky to assign 100% of the blame so one single party. There are typically any number of factors that contrive to create a collision. One driver might run a red light, causing another driver on the phone to brake hard. A third driver is distracted, and sees the brake lights late, and rear-ends the previous car. There are three different stories here, each with their own small share of the blame. One way to deal with this is split the blame as a percentage of liability.

Assess the evidence gathered at the scene

The evidence and details you gather at the scene of the incident is the most important factor here. First-hand, fresh evidence is the most trusted and credible information regarding blame. As a driver, you should take down every detail possible. Take photos of the scene, including any car damage, skid marks, and other indicators of blame. Draw a sketch of the incident as you saw it. Write down any other factors such as failing to stop at a red light, turning left into oncoming traffic etc.

Witness accounts

Once you’ve gathered your details and evidence, pass them onto the police and insurance companies. However, these are difficult to corroborate without witness accounts. Naturally, the involved drivers will gather evidence favourable to them. It’s the witness accounts that will really decide the outcome. Speak to any eye witnesses, and ask for their names and contact information. Make sure they’re willing to provide a statement for the police and insurance companies. At this point, if you’re certain you’re not to blame, you can hire a free courtesy car from Acorn Rentals. They’ll chase the offender’s insurance company for the bill, at no cost to you.

Admitting fault at the scene

One of the most incriminating factors when determining fault is what you say at the scene of the accident. Try to avoid saying anything pertaining to blame whatsoever. Something as simple as “I didn’t see you” or even “Sorry” can be used to attribute blame. Any doubt will be used against you and your insurance company. Stay silent, and simply gather the evidence, until the police arrive.

When it comes to car accidents, blame is important. It determines who pays out for the damage, which can add up to thousands. Make sure you know what to look for.

Car Accident in a Work Vehicle

By | General | No Comments

Having access to a company car is often a wonderful thing. You get to drive some of the best new executive models, and put it all on the company card. You get the keys to a slick new BMW or Mercedes. The company pays for your petrol, maintenance, and insurance costs, while you drive comfortably. Of course, it’s rarely that simple! For all these benefits, there are some drawbacks. For instance, who foots the bill if there is an accident involving the company car? Are you, the driver, responsible? Or is the company liable for the entire bill?

There’s no worse feeling that damaging your company car. You scrape it against a bollard, reverse it into another car, or find yourself in a head-on collision. There’s the initial surprise and fear that comes with any car crash. But, then there’s the slow realisation of the repercussions. If you’ve damaged the company car, is it your responsibility to deal with the fallout? Are you liable for the expenses? It’s a confusing topic, and there is no right answer. Let’s take a look in more detail.

How were you using the car?

When you take a company car, there is a certain agreement made by employee and employer. The employer gives you access to use the car, and they understand that you’ll use it for both work and personal use. But, there is a distinction here. If you crash the car while on business, during company hours, they’ll typically pay the bill. If you were acting ‘within the scope of employment, the car is under the responsibility of the company. If, however, you damage or crash the car while on a personal errand, things get a little trickier. In that case, you may liable for the incident personally.

Who was at fault?

Of course, this question only arises if you, the employee are at fault. If you weren’t to blame for the accident, then your company will simple seek damages from the offender’s insurance company. This follows normal procedure following an incident. Remember, the insurance is in the company’s name. So, they will handle the claim, and make sure money is returned. Meanwhile, you can rent a free courtesy car from the likes of Acorn Rentals. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you won’t pay a penny. The offender’s insurance company will cover the costs of rental, as it was their fault. The trouble arises if the accident itself was your fault. If that’s the case, and you were using it for a personal errand, you are liable for the costs.

In the case of reckless behaviour

If you were found to have caused the incident due to reckless behaviour, there may be severe consequences. First of all, your company will ensure that you pay the damages from your personal expenses. Secondly, and more dangerously, they may fire or discipline you in any way they see fit. The reason for this is simple. If you’re in a company car, a van, or a truck, you are representing the business. If you’re speeding or driving dangerously, you are negatively affecting the company. You have also caused criminal damage to your company’s property, the car.

As you can see, this area of car insurance policy is difficult to navigate! If you need more information, ask the representative at your company.

I Had a Car Accident and it Wasn’t My Fault

By | General | No Comments

The screech of tires and clunk of metal is terrifying. If you’ve been involved in an accident, then you know exactly what we mean! Nothing can prepare you for that awful moment, and your body goes into shock. A car accident can happen at any time. Whether you’re going 70mph on the motorway, or reversing out of your drive, another car can easily drive straight into you. If you’re reading this post, then you’ve probably been involved in a collision just like this. You know the crash wasn’t your fault, and you’re wondering what you can do about it. Well, we’re here to help provide expert advice in case you find yourself in this position.

Gather information to prove it wasn’t your fault

We know that your head will be spinning after a collision. It’s not always easy to act calm and rationally. But, it’s so important that you keep your wits about you. Stay calm, and start recording all the relevant details. Remember, any details you write down at the scene of the accident are more credible than recalling them later on. If possible, take photos of the immediate damage. Take photos of the final positions of the car, and draw a sketch of the accident as it happened. Include any useful information about weather or noticeable reasons for blame (i.e., running a red light).

Get witness statements

If there were any witnesses in the area, ask them for a quick statement to confirm the blame. If they can confirm that the offending party ran a red light, your case will be much stronger. Don’t forget to take their name, address and phone number. If necessary, ask the police to corroborate this statement, and pass the details onto the insurance company.

Ask the police to investigate

No matter how small the collision or accident, the police will always be the first on the scene. They’ll take details of the incident, and begin to put together an investigation. They have more experience with assigning blame, and their decision will carry more weight with an insurance company. Give them all the details they need to come to the right decision, and assist their investigation where possible.

Pick up a courtesy car

If your car was badly damaged during the collision, you’re going to need a short-term replacement. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you’re entitled to a free rental car. You can apply for one at Acorn Rentals, and they won’t charge you for the courtesy car. Instead, they’ll go to the offender’s insurance company to pick up the cheque. Meanwhile, you should notify both your insurer, and the third party’s insurer. Explain the situation, and give them all the necessary details.

Visit a doctor

Finally, make sure that you haven’t incurred any serious injuries by visiting your doctor. If there are any problems, ensure that you obtain a qualified doctor’s note. You can then present this to the insurance company to seek adequate compensation and damages.

Don’t pay for something that wasn’t your fault. Remain calm, follow this advice, and get the compensation you deserve.

What To Do In A Car Crash That Is Not Your Fault

By | General | No Comments

Statistics tell us that we’re all likely to be involved in a car accident at least once in our lives. You can be the most careful driver in the world, but it’s impossible to predict how others will act. One day, you’ll hear the deafening crunch of metal, and you’ll grind to a halt. Yes, someone has driven right into you! It happens more often than you think. If you’re certain this collision wasn’t your fault in any way, then you shouldn’t be liable for any payment. In fact, their insurance policy should cover everything. But, just to be sure, here are the steps you should take after the accident.

Don’t accept any blame

We’ve all done it before. We’ve all said “sorry” when we absolutely were not at fault. It happens when someone bumps into us in the street, for example. It’s so easy for these incriminating words to fall out of our mouth at the scene of an accident. But, they can, and probably will, be used against you as an inference of blame. Don’t say sorry, don’t admit to any possibility of blame. But, don’t antagonise the other party either. Shouting and screaming won’t help you here! Simply exchange the relevant details with the other driver. These details should include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Insurance company
  • Policy number
  • Driving license number
  • License plate number

Write down every little detail

When it comes to claiming your compensation, the more information you have, the better. And, the longer it’s been since the accident, the less credible the evidence. Start writing down all the details you can about the crash. Take the name of the other driver, and the details of the car. Record the weather conditions and time of day. Draw a sketch of the accident as it happened, and take as many pictures as possible. Every little detail will help you later on.

Let the police take over

When the police arrive, they will begin taking statements and assessing the situation. Let them take over, and let them begin to establish blame. They will be in control of the situation. The more calmly you present your side of the story, the more credible your evidence. Stay in control, give them a factual statement, and let them handle the rest. At this point, leave the scene and let the police get on with their work. Meanwhile, you can pick up a free rental car from us here at Acorn Rentals. Don’t worry, the insurance company at fault will foot the bill.

Notify their insurer

If you’re certain the crash was the fault of a third party, notify their insurer. Let them know the details of the collision, and inform them that you will be seeking damages in due course. They will then begin their own investigation into the accident to ascertain blame. At the same time, the police will continue theirs, which ultimately holds the most weight.

Notify your insurer

Even if it wasn’t your fault, it’s a gesture of goodwill to inform your own insurer. Let them know the details. It will prepare them in case the third party insurer’s make a counterclaim against you.

Visit a doctor and a repair shop

Finally, visit a doctor to assess and record any immediate injuries and damage. Get a doctor’s note that confirms this assessment. Next, visit a car repair shop, and get a quote for the repair of damages. This information will form the basis of your compensation claim.

If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve remuneration. Follow these steps, and make sure you get it.

What is a common factor in car accidents?

By | General | No Comments

These days there are more cars on the road than ever before. Traffic is heavier, and drive times are getting longer, causing more frustration and road rage than ever before.

The most common car crash in all of Australia as the nose-to-tail, or being rear-ended. When driving too closely behind someone, you lose your ability to react quickly enough should they stop suddenly. If speed is also involved then fatalities from this type of accident are not uncommon, despite many believing it to be ‘minor’. In these type of accidents the crash is deemed your fault even if the driver ahead stopped for nothing. A good rule of thumb to make sure you’re following at a safe distance is the three second rule. Chose an object (such as traffic lights, a mailbox etc) and if you count three seconds between when the driver in front passes it and you pass it, then you are likely placing a safe distance between you and the other car.

Speed is also a massive factor in car accidents. A NSW investigation found that in a twelve month period, speed was a factor in 145 of 225 deaths from car accidents. As well as preventing you being in an accident at all by slowing down, reducing your speed also minimises your risk of serious injury or death if you are still involved in an car crash.

Tiredness is also a major factor in car accidents. In the same NSW study, fatigue and alcohol were involved in 61 of the 225 deaths. Never drive tired, and get a good night’s sleep when you know you have a long drive the next day. If you do become tired while driving, pull over and have a nap. Many people underestimate the ability of a short nap to revive yourself. Leaving your car to walk around and stretch your legs, or grabbing a cup of tea or coffee can also help you avoid fatigue related accidents.

Lastly, many studies clearly show drug and alcohol use to be a major factor in car accidents. Never drive under the influence. Even a small amount can impair your judgement, and so use caution when deciding if you are over the legal limit of 0.05 blood alcohol concentration. Do not drive if you have taken any illegal drugs at all, and check the recommendations on prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel.

What percentage of car accidents are caused by mobile phone users?

By | General | No Comments

Mobile phone usage while driving has long been reported as dangerous. Studies in the UK and America have reported mobile phone usage to causing as many as one in four car accidents. That’s 25% of all accidents involving improper use of a mobile phone in some way.

In Australia, distraction has been identified as a contributing factor in 22% of car accidents and a staggering 71% of truck accidents. It’s also been identified as a contributing factor in 46% of ‘near crashes’. Experts believe that using a mobile phone while driving greatly impacts your ability to concentrate on driving. However despite this, a recent Queensland study showed that 25% of drivers still use their hand-held mobile phones while driving on a regular basis. A further 14% reported using their phones to text while driving. Another study by the Australian government in 2011 found that 59% of mobile phone users in Australia (93% of the Australian drivers reported owning a phone) used their phone while driving. Of these, only 28% reported using a hands-free car kit. Perhaps predictably, the highest level of mobile use while driving come from the youngest drivers, aged 18-24.

Some believe that using a hands-free car kit, where you can talk on the phone without actually touching your mobile phone, is safe. Some studies do show that it’s safer than placing your phone to your ear. However, experts argue that it is not just the physical use of your hands on the phone that causes the danger. As well as physical and visual distraction caused when you reach for your phone, talking on the phone can cause a cognitive distraction by involving you in a complex discussion while trying to navigate driving conditions. Unlike when you are talking to a passenger in the car, the person on the other end of the phone cannot see what conditions you are driving in and adjust the conversation accordingly.

In Australia it’s illegal in all states and territories to use a hand-held mobile phone at all when driving, or when your car is stopped but not parked. It’s also illegal to use a hands-free system if it causes you to lose proper control of the car. L and P1 drivers are not permitted to use any hands-free system at all.

Why are there so many accidents when it rains?

By | General | No Comments

Weather conditions can greatly increase your chances of being involved in a car accident. Rain can be a contributing factor in many car accidents, particularly if you live in a usually dry area or it has been a long time since it’s rained. This means that people may not have much experience driving in wet conditions, or when the rain is significantly heavy.

When the weather is bad, there are two types of drivers that can cause the risk of an accident to increase; timid and reckless drivers. Excessively timid drivers can slow down unreasonably, causing traffic to back up and create extra congestion on the streets. This can increase the risk of accidents such as read-ending another car. Reckless drivers can ignore the impact that wet roads and low visibility can have on driving ability, and still drive at or even over the speed limit or change lanes quickly. This can cause a car to skid or cause the drive to lose control and cause an accident.

As well as the rain wetting the road and causing it to be slippery, roads are often at their most slick right at the start of a rainstorm. This is because the initial wetting of the road causes the oil to rise and creates a greasy surface.

Rainstorms can also cause low visibility, both from the weather conditions and also from dirty water being kicked up from puddles on the road. Windscreens can also become obscured quickly. It’s important to make sure that your car always has functional windscreen wipers.

To avoid being involved in a car accident in the rain, drive a little slower to allow for better reaction times and better tire traction. Keep your eyes on traffic directly ahead of you and follow their actions; if they break, you break. Reduced visibility means you may not see a hazard ahead as you would on a dry day. Use your car’s defog function to reduce fogging inside the car, which also limits your visibility.

Lastly, avoid driving through large puddles, and try to stay near the centre of the road if possible. Puddles of water can be deeper than you anticipate, and entering them can also have an impact on your tire’s ability to grip the road, causing you to become stuck or stranded.