Caution with Hire Vehicles – A precedential decision has been set.
A recent appeal from the NSW Local Magistrates Court to the NSW Supreme Court modifies how claims are assessed for drivers who hire vehicles after a car accident where they may seek recovery.
The Supreme Court ruling, cited as Nguyen v Cassim  NSWSC 1130 considered the assessment of damages (amount recoverable) where a motor vehicle, damaged in a collision for which the owner was not at fault, is unavailable for use while repairs are effected and substitute vehicle is hired. In essence two key questions arose:
- Where the damaged vehicle is a high value or “prestige”, is the expense of obtaining a replacement car of similar value or prestige recoverable, where a cheaper alternative would overcome the inconvenience arising from the temporary unavailability of the damaged vehicle?
- The second question only arises once it is accepted that the expense of obtaining a replacement vehicle of similar value or prestige is recoverable: is the whole of the rental charges billed by the accident hire company recoverable?
His Honour, Basten J, found that the magistrate findings were in error and set them aside, in that, with respect to the hire of a prestige vehicle at $17,158.02 plus interest, this sum was excessive! Among other things, his Honour found that the needs would have been satisfied by the hire of a Toyota Corolla. In place of the magistrate’s findings His Honour, ordered the appeal to his Court, Allowed and that the vehicle hirer (Cassim) pay the at fault party (Nguyen) the sum of $7,476, together with interest.
Access to the His Honour, Basten J, full judgement may be found by clicking here.
The take away from this lesson is whenever you are involved in a car accident and may need a hire vehicle, please contact your Account Manager or click below for Warren Saunders Accident Assist which is available 24/07 on 9587 3500.