You’ve just had an accident. Another driver has damaged your vehicle. It happens. No problem, we’re human after all.
So, you ring your insurance company and report it to them. They re-assure you and say they will get everything sorted for you. But wait, you need a vehicle! No problem, say your insurance company, we know someone who can help.
Before you know it, you have been passed over to another company and they are offering to provide you with a replacement vehicle. The company ring you and talk about terms and conditions but you just assume this is part of your insurance as you remember having a courtesy vehicle on your policy.
You sign something without reading it, as seems to be common practice these days, and there’s a car being delivered the next day. Skip on a few months, maybe even a year, and you receive a call from that company to say that they have been unable to get the hire costs back and are going to involve solicitors. Your heart might skip a beat, especially when a solicitor’s letter lands on your door mat. In a panic, and, again, perhaps without reading anything, you assume the solicitors are asking you to pay.
So, let’s set everything straight…
- That company – they provide replacement vehicle services on a credit basis
- That document – this is a credit hire agreement
- That solicitor – they are instructed to recover the charges from the at-fault insurer
The credit hire agreement means you are personally liable for the costs, however, the terms of the agreement will generally set out that the hire company will agree to pursue said costs from the at-fault insurer, in exchange for your co-operation and so long as you are not found to be fraudulent.
It can then get especially challenging as once court proceedings are started, that at-fault insurer appoints their own solicitors and it is their job to quash the hire charges or at least have them reduced by raising numerous arguments.
You might find you are faced with multiple questions. Why did you need a vehicle? Was there not another family car available? Did you use your own insurance company for your vehicle repairs or did you wait around for the at-fault insurer? Could you pay for hire using your own money? Indeed, could you have paid for repairs to speed up the process? Surprising or not, this is the everyday diet of a litigator in the world of credit hire.
So, breathe a little and grab yourself a cuppa’ – ring your solicitor and have a chat with them. It sounds daunting but, with your help and co-operation, your solicitor will likely be able to resolve the matter in an efficient manner.
Having worked at Stephensons Solicitors LLP for over 15 years, eight years of that has been within the credit hire team where I work today. Myself and the team deal with hundreds of individuals and businesses alike in disputed credit hire claims, encountering a great deal of success. So, if any of the above sounds familiar to you and you need some help, please get in touch with our specialist credit hire team on 01616 966 229.
By Steven Jones, litigation executive in the personal injury department