Bumper to Bumper crashes- help
The road trip is an essential part of the New Zealand summer holiday. You throw the kids in the car, pack the tent in the back along with all the toys, and race off to the beach for blissful tranquillity. Unfortunately, so does everyone else, which means traffic and chaos on the roads, with “idiot” drivers getting in your way at every turn. Increased traffic, tiredness and extra stress means that accidents, big and small, are much more likely to happen around the Christmas holidays.
Most drivers in New Zealand have some form of insurance to help pay cover costs if you are in an accident. Sometimes there is no insurance, however, or the cost of the repairs are the same as your excess. In either case, there are some fundamental responsibilities of all parties in an accident, regardless of fault.
The most important thing to remember is to try and stay calm. Adrenaline will be coursing through your veins, and you may possibly want to take a piece out of the other person. Try and remember that accidents happen, regardless of who is at fault, and make sure no one is hurt. If they are hurt, call 111. If no one is hurt, make sure you exchange names, phone numbers, addresses, car registration details and insurance details with all other parties involved.
If the crash has been a large one, it may be necessary to call the police to help with the clean up operation. If you cannot find the other party (for instance if you have crashed into a parked car), you must tell the police within 60 hours of the crash. You should also tell your insurance company as soon as possible after a crash, as they may have certain protocols they need to follow, or may be able to help organise towing.
If you do not want to involve your insurance company, you do not have to. If this is the case, and the other driver is denying liability but also does not want to involve an insurance company, you are entitled to make a claim with the disputes tribunal for the cost of the repairs. If they are denying liability but are claiming through insurance, the insurance companies will sort out who's fault the accident was.
Remember that for most insurance companies, if your car does not have a current warrant of fitness, you will not be covered. Even if it is out by only a few days, and the accident was the fault of the other side, it is unlikely the insurance company will cover the cost of the repairs. It is best to get your car serviced, warranted and registered before the big summer break.
If you do have a crash this summer and want to clarify your rights and responsibilities, drop in to see us at 16 Market Street for an informal chat.