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August 17th, 2016 by


The AA recently published a question by a reader on their site which asked about rights on choosing a vehicle repairman after an accident if the accident was a Third Party’s fault.

Many of us can relate to this instance when the bill is shoved to the offending fender bender only to receive shoddy workmanship as a result.

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The AA responded by saying your rights as a vehicle owner are fortunately quite in your favour. “The negligent party does not have the right to choose where your vehicle should be repaired, nor do you have the right to insist that/she undertake to repair your vehicle at a specified repairs.”

The law of Delict is used in civil law jurisdiction when there is any intentional or negligent breach of duty of care that inflicts loss or harm and which triggers legal liability for the wrongdoer. This effectively means is that you have the right to claim the fair, reasonable and necessary costs of repairs to your vehicle.

Man and women examining car after accident.

You will need to prove the amount and cost of repairing your vehicle by fair and valid assessment and with the sole goal of putting your vehicle back into the condition that it was prior to the accident.

You are also entitled to negotiate with the negligent party on a possible payment plan as well as other terms under which you can settle your claim for damages.

Is your car insurance provider failing you? Let us help!

What to remember right after an accident

  1. Document the scene as much as possible.
  2. Take photos of the scene as well as all cars involved.
  3. Talk to witnesses
  4. Call the police
  5. Call your insurance provider 

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How long do I have to file a claim?

One AA reader asked if there was a time limit for an innocent party to submit their claim. She was involved in an accident where she was the guilty party and had requested the injured party to provide details of their assessment for insurance purposes but had not heard back from them since the incident. 

All civil claims, including claims for motor vehicle accident damage, have a prescription of three years. This would mean that if you were in an accident where the other party suffered injuries, they have up to three years to file a claim against you for injuries or loss. 

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The AA adds that if the other party involved in the accident does not immediately supply you with their details for insurance, it is advised to keep on file all third party details that you do have, details of independent witnesses who saw the accident occur, photos of the accident scene and an accident report number or a copy of the accident report.

“These may come in handy if you are subsequently contacted by the third party or their insurer and if you need to negotiate a settlement of their claim. Should a third party approach you more than three (3) years after an accident to claim for his / her damages, you may raise the defence of prescription and legally refuse to pay for their damages.”

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