Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.

I was recently involved in a car accident and I have been charged with Driving Without Due Care. Can you provide me with advice?

If you have been charged with this offence under section 45 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 SA then it is alleged that you have driven a motor vehicle without due care or attention, or without reasonable consideration of others.

If the matter is a basic offence then the maximum penalty is a $2,500 fine and three demerit points. If the offence is aggravated then the maximum penalty is one year imprisonment and a driver’s licence disqualification for six months.

An offence is aggravated if you:

•  Caused death or serious harm;

•  Were escaping from pursuit by the police;

•  Are disqualified or suspended from driving;

•  Had a blood alcohol reading of .08 grams or more;

•  Were exceeding the speed limit by 45 km / h. or

•  Driving under the influence.

The Prosecution must prove that:

1.  You were driving the vehicle.

2.  That you were driving on a road; and

3.  That you did not drive the vehicle with the care and attention required.

It is always important that you seek proper legal advice prior to a Court case, even if you want to plead guilty to the charge. A lawyer can advise you whether there is a defence, or whether the charge is properly laid.

It is very often the case that charges can be amended, downgraded, or in some cases withdrawn. This of course depends on the charge and also the circumstances of your matter.

I have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and I was not the driver at fault. Can you give me some general advice about making a claim?

Most motor vehicle accident claims fall into two categories – a claim for damage to or loss of the vehicle, and for the injuries sustained by anyone.

In both cases, the first issue that needs to be considered is liability. This means establishing that the driver of the other vehicle is legally responsible for the accident, and for the damages and injuries resulting from it. Insured drivers are often indemnified by their insurer for any liability they may be found to have, and are usually involved as a party to legal proceedings where liability is in dispute.

Once liability has been established, the next issue to consider is quantum. This means a calculation of the monetary amount for which the other driver is legally responsible. For claims relating to motor vehicles only, the quantum is usually the cost of repairs and any associated expenses. This can be established by obtaining several quotations from vehicle repairers. However, where the vehicle is not capable of being repaired, or where the cost of repair exceeds its value, the quantum may be the difference between the value of the vehicle prior to the accident and its salvage value. Quantum is much more difficult to assess in personal injury claims. A range of matters may be compensable, including but not limited to bodily impairment, any assistance required with domestic duties, economic loss (for the time you are unfit to work due to your injuries), pain and suffering. Formal reports from medical specialists and occupational therapists are usually necessary.

If you have been involved in an accident, we suggest you contact the solicitors at Scammell & Co. for specific advice regarding your situation.

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