A friend crashed my car - what do I do?

If you are thinking of allowing someone else to drive your car, it's a good idea to check their driver’s licence status and your insurance policies first.

If a friend crashes your vehicle, your insurance policy may respond, depending on its terms. However, in some circumstances you may be left having to foot the damage bill yourself, or sue your friend for the money.

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A friend crashed my car - will my insurance cover the damage and injury liability?

Whether your third party, comprehensive or compulsory third party (CTP) insurance policy will cover damage or liability caused by your friend’s driving will depend on a number of factors:

  • Were they listed as a driver on the policy? This may not preclude coverage but may attract a higher excess.
  • Does your policy cover drivers of their age group? Some policies don’t cover drivers under 25 or under 30.
  • Did they have a current valid licence? If your friend’s licence is cancelled or suspended your insurance may not cover you.
  • Were they driving under the influence? If your friend was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident your insurance may not cover you.

If your policy does not respond, you will be liable for the costs of the damage to your car, damage to any other vehicles and public property.  You could also be sued for personal injury if someone is injured in the accident.

A friend crashed my car and was injured - what are their rights?

If your friend crashes your vehicle and is injured, they may be able to make a claim for injury compensation depending on whether or not they were fault.

When your friend is at fault

A claim for compensation can only be made against someone if they have breached their duty of care toward you. If your friend is at fault, they are the negligent party and are therefore unable to make a claim for injury compensation against someone else.

When your friend is not at fault

If your friend is not at fault for the accident, they can make a claim against the driver who is at fault. The at-fault driver will be covered by their compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. If the at-fault driver’s vehicle is not registered and therefore not insured with CTP or if the at-fault driver cannot be identified, your friend can still make a claim against the Nominal Defendant.

When will you be liable for your friend's injuries?

You will not be liable for any injuries sustained by your friend unless you have been negligent. For example, if you didn’t properly maintain your vehicle or it was unroadworthy and this caused the accident your injured friend may have grounds to sue you. It is unlikely your liability would be covered by your CTP insurance in this situation.

A friend crashed my car and won't pay

If your friend is at-fault in an accident and has damaged your car, they are liable for the damage. If you don’t have insurance to cover the damage, or don’t wish to make a claim on your insurance, you can ask them to pay for the damage.

If they refuse to pay, you can sue them for the amount that it costs to fix your car. However, there are other steps you should take first.

  1. Get a quote for the damage. If your car is able to be repaired, obtain a written quote from 2 or 3 qualified repairers for the labour and parts required to fix the damage. If your car is not repairable or the repair costs are more than the vehicle is worth (write-off), obtain at least 2 written valuations of the car’s pre-accident value from an expert valuer, car yard or qualified panel beater.
  2. Discuss the matter. Talk to your friend about the quote and see if they are willing to pay in instalments or come to an agreement.
  3. Send a letter of demand. If they won’t pay, send a letter making a formal demand for payment of the sum of the lowest repair quote and any towing or associated costs. Make sure you have your friend’s correct name and address and be sure to attach a copy of your quotes.
  4. Send a final demand. If there is no response to your first demand you can make a further demand, indicating that if the payment is not made by a certain date, you will institute court proceedings.

If your friend still refuses to pay, you can lodge a claim with QCAT for claims under $25,000 or in an appropriate Queensland civil court for a claim over $25,000.

A friend crashed my car - can I sue?

If your friend crashes your car and you can’t or don’t want to claim on your insurance, you may be able to sue them for the cost of fixing the damage to your vehicle or for its pre-accident value if it's a write-off.

If you are considering suing someone, it is best to seek legal advice beforehand. If you make a claim and you are unsuccessful, you may have to pay the other party’s legal costs.

Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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