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Welcome to our FAQ page where you will find some frequently asked questions about motor accident claims.

We hope that you find the questions and answers provided of assistance to you. if you require further information or have a particular query, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

What is a material damage claim*?

Material damage is damage to property and in the context of a road traffic accident involves a claim seeking to recover the cost of vehicle damage repairs or vehicle replacement (if beyond repair), and other consequential losses such as car hire, depreciation, towing and storage charges, assessor’s fees, and the cost of repairing or replacing other property damaged in the accident.

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How do I make a material damage claim?

The first step in the process is to arrange to speak to one of our solicitors who will be in a position to immediately assess your claim and advise you on liability.

Upon receipt of your instructions we:

  • Notify the third party and his/her insurers of our interest putting them formally on notice of your intention to make a claim to recover your loss
  • Arrange to have your vehicle examined by one of our motor assessors for the purposes of assessing the damage and better valuing your claim
  • Arrange convenient car hire for you, if required, and liaise with the repairer of your vehicle
  • Set out the full extent of your loss and look to settle the claim with the third party insurer quickly and on the best possible terms without any cost to you

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When should I make a claim?

It is always best to deal with motor accident claims as soon as possible. The Statute of Limitations allows an injured person only 2 years from the date of the accident to issue proceedings, although there is an obligation to deliver a notice of claim within a period of 2 months following an accident. In the case of material damage only claims, the relevant period is 6 years.

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What am I entitled to claim?

If the accident was not your fault you should be entitled to recover:

  • The full cost of repairs
  • The reasonable costs of towing and storage of your vehicle
  • The cost of reasonable car hire or a sum for loss of use
  • A sum for depreciation depending on the age of your vehicle
  • The cost of replacing any damaged property, such as a car seat or other items
  • The difference between the pre-accident value of your car and the post-accident value (salvage value) if your car is ‘written off’ (see below)
  • If you have suffered personal injuries – the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, loss of earnings and other expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering

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Why is a motor assessor necessary?

It is always good practice to engage an independent motor assessor to examine your vehicle and provide a report on the damage. The report will also set out the extent of the losses to include reasonable car hire and other costs as well as a sum for depreciation, if applicable. It is particularly important to engage a motor assessor if there is the prospect of liability being in dispute as the assessor may need to give evidence in due course on the extent of the damage and perhaps an opinion on how it was caused.

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What does mitigating my loss mean?

Following an accident and notwithstanding that you may be the innocent victim, you have a duty to try and minimize and prevent further losses occurring and mitigate the damage. In other words, you cannot sit back and do nothing and allow further loss and damage to occur which could have been avoided and which is within your control. For example, it is necessary within a reasonable period to dispose of a ‘written off’ vehicle and reduce any further storage or car hire costs. Similarly, efforts should be made to have repairs carried out as soon as possible to reduce any further expense.

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Do I have to use the insurance company’s suggested repairer?

No. There is no obligation on you to use an insurer’s garage. You may get an estimate of repair from a garage of your choice although it is always best to have a motor assessor agree the figures before carrying out any repairs. Once the figures are agreed and a settlement is reached you may arrange to repair your vehicle at your preferred garage.

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Do I have to accept any offer made?

No. You are entitled to recover the full cost of repairs and any other reasonable costs and expenses necessarily incurred such as car hire, towing and storage, depreciation (if applicable), and other property damage losses. If you feel that the offer made by the third party insurer is insufficient then it is open to you to reject the offer and seek better terms, and if necessary, issue proceedings with a view to recovering your loss.

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What does ‘write off’ mean?

In some cases, the cost of repairs relative to the pre-accident value of your car may make the vehicle uneconomical to repair. The vehicle is then usually ‘written off’ for insurance purposes although this does not necessarily mean the vehicle must be scrapped. It will depend on the recommendation of the motor assessor as to whether the damage is such that the vehicle should not be put back on the road. If your vehicle is considered a ‘write off’ the loss is measured by deducting the pre-accident value from the post-accident value (salvage value).

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What if the other driver is uninsured?

If the other driver or vehicle was uninsured at the time then it is still possible to make a claim. It may however be necessary to notify the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The MIBI compensates victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured or unidentified drivers and also provides a mechanism for seeking compensation when an accident is caused by a foreign registered vehicle. However, if your own vehicle is covered by a comprehensive policy of insurance you will need to rely on your own policy. In the absence of comprehensive insurance it may be possible to make a claim under the MIBI scheme subject to certain pre-conditions and exclusions.

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How does the MIBI Scheme work?

The first step in the process is to lodge a MIBI claim notification form as soon as possible. The MIBI will then investigate the matter and ascertain the insurance position of the alleged offending driver. If the matter comes within the remit of the MIBI it will nominate an Irish insurance provider to deal with the claim. On the successful conclusion of the matter the claimant will receive a payment in compensation from the MIBI.

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Will a claim affect my no claims bonus?

No. There is a protocol in place between the MIBI and Irish insurers protecting your No Claim Bonus if a claim is made as a result of damage caused by the negligent driving of an uninsured driver.

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How long will it all take?

In material damage claims, the process takes no more than 2 to 3 weeks in the majority of cases from initial instructions to settling your claim. If liability is disputed and it is necessary to issue court proceedings it may take longer to resolve matters. At all times you will be kept up to date on progress. We look to complete matters quickly and effectively and on the best possible terms.

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If you wish to discuss a potential claim or would like advice on any matter, please Contact Us for a consultation.

*in contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award of damages.

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