Legal defence and claim for damages

If you are insured, you can claim on your insurance.

However, it is your choice whether you claim on your insurance policy. If you make a claim, you may have to pay an excess if you are at fault and may lose your no-claim bonus.

There are two types of insurance for property damage.

    1. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your own car as well as damage to other cars and property, regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.
    2. Third party property insurance usually only covers damage you do to another car or property. However, if the other driver is at fault and uninsured, you are also able to claim (often up to around $5000) for damage to your car under the little known Uninsured Motorist Extension (UME) term of your third party property policy.

Common defenses generally fall into two separate categories: legal defenses and factual defenses. Legal defenses are defenses that prohibit a claim based on an existing law or rule. The most common legal defense to a car accident injury case is violation of the statute of limitations. Factual defenses are defenses that are dependent upon the actual specifics of the case, and can include defenses of contributory or comparative negligence and failure to mitigate damages.

The most common factual defenses to a car accident injury claim involve fault – unless the accident occurred in a no-fault state. The defense will often seek to limit their liability to pay by showing that the plaintiff was responsible for causing the accident – either completely or in part. Depending on the state in which the accident occurred, there are varying rules on compensating plaintiffs who are, at least in part, responsible for causing the accident. States typically follow one of two rules: Contributory negligence or comparative negligence

Comparative negligence is a factual defense to a personal injury case. In states that have adopted comparative negligence as a valid defense, each party involved in an incident — whether a party to the lawsuit or not — is assigned a percentage of fault based upon the facts of the case. Once the percentage of fault is assigned, local law will usually dictate what percentage of any verdict may be recovered, and from whom.

Contributory negligence can be a crippling factual defense to a personal injury case. In the handful of states that follow this rule, any party that contributed in any fashion to the incident causing injury is barred from getting compensation from other parties.

Going to court

If negotiations fail, your next resort is court action. Think carefully before taking court action. If you lose, you may have to pay the other side’s legal costs. Even if you win, you may not be able to recover any money. Also, court action takes time and can be stressful. If you do start court  action, you will need to know the name and address of the other party or parties. This is usually the driver but can also include the owner.  Court action for property damage must usually start within six years of the date of the accident. Drivers under 18 must similarly claim within six years  from when they turn 18.

The Local Court is divided into two divisions:

  • Small Claims Division for claims up to $10,000.
  • General Division for claims over $10,000 and up to $100,000.

The person who starts legal proceedings is called the plaintiff. The person who is being sued is called the defendant.

7 tips for taking out car insurance

Having a car involves many expenses: maintenance, road tax, repairs, parking expenses… and of course, car insurance. In Spain, by law, all vehicles must have insurance that covers at least mandatory civil liability, which takes care of any damage that may be caused to third parties. However, there is a wide variety of car insurance policies on the market from which you can choose more or less coverages, and at a higher or lower price. Here are some things to consider before deciding on a specific policy.

Cancel your previous insurance one month in advance
If you have found a car insurance policy that is more suitable for you and you want to cancel your previous one, you must notify your insurer one month before the end of your contract, according to the Insurance Contract Law. If you do not notify us in advance, your current insurance will be automatically renewed. The best way to do this is to send a written statement to the company by telegram, bureaufax or traditional mail. In this way you will avoid later problems if the company claims that you did not communicate with the necessary time.

Adjust the coverage to your needs
The type of insurance, as well as the coverages to be taken out are the most important factor when choosing a Car policy, over and above the price. It is not a question of having the best ones, but of choosing the most appropriate ones in each case. For example, for new cars up to 3 years old, it is advisable to take out an all-risk insurance policy, as it has its own damage cover. In this way, if the vehicle suffers any damage, such as rubbing against a column when parking, the insurance company will assume the cost of repairing the damage. In addition, in the event of total loss, the compensation usually corresponds to the new value of the vehicle. On the other hand, in the case of cars more than 3 years old, it is usually more advisable to take out an insurance policy with Extended Third Parties, or even a basic one, since the value of the vehicle is considerably reduced once that period has elapsed since it was purchased. In any case, you may qualify for complementary cover depending on the risk you face. For example, if your vehicle sleeps on the street, it is recommended that you hire theft coverage, while if you do so in a private garage, you can save that coverage. Consider your specific situation to choose the coverages you need, without hiring more than necessary. </li>

Check coverage limits
In addition to the coverages that you have decided to take out, it is very important that you look at the limit that each one has. One that can cause some problems is roadside assistance. Although most insurers offer this coverage from kilometer 0, there are others that can establish a minimum distance from home to provide this service, so if you suffer a breakdown 5 kilometers from your home, it is likely that this incidence is not covered by your policy. Another example may be compensation in case of total loss of the vehicle. Some insurers may offer you compensation for the market value of the vehicle, while others do so for the new value, which can make a difference of hundreds of euros. Pay attention to these aspects in the specific conditions of each policy to be aware of the specific coverage you have in each case.

All parts count
Road safety comes first and that’s why you should pay close attention when driving your car. Also, it’s important to know that the more parts you give to insurance, the more expensive your policy will be the following year. In this way, if in one year you have given two parts, for example for a rear impact and a broken glass, the following year the insurer will penalize you by increasing your premium or not applying bonuses, even if the claims did not occur because of you.

with or without franchise?
If you want to save some money on your insurance premium, you have the option of taking out an insurance policy with excess. This implies that if, for example, you take out a policy with a $500 deductible, in the event of a loss you will have to pay for the expenses incurred up to that limit ($500) and the rest will be borne by the insurer. In return, the premium payable will be lower than if the policy had no franchise. The insurance policies that are most often “franchised” are the All Risks, since they are those that have the most expensive coverages, such as own damages. However, third-party insurance can also include coverage with excess cover, such as theft, although this is very unusual. In this way, it is possible to pay less for the insurance premium, while at the same time being protected in the event of a high-cost claim.

The single payment, the cheapest option
When it comes to paying for insurance, most companies give you the option of paying a one-time or installment payment, which can be monthly, quarterly or semi-annual. If it’s possible, pay it all at once, since it’s usually the cheapest option, and even some companies offer discounts if you pay the fee in a single payment. Conversely, some insurers may charge surcharges if you decide to pay the premium in different installments, and the more you split the premium, the higher the surcharge is usually.

The current car insurance offer is very numerous, so numerous that sometimes finding a policy can be very complicated. Comparing prices and coverages and choosing the right insurance can involve a long and difficult search if you don’t have the right tools.