Ligeti Partners has secured another favourable result in Queensland for its insurer client involving a Repairer Recovery Syndicate.
Following a minor motor vehicle accident, the legal representatives of the not-at-fault Plaintiff (who acted for a Repairer Recovery Syndicate) sought repair costs in excess of $10,000.00. A repairer invoice and Assessment Report were provided as proof of loss in support of this sum.
Our enquiries revealed that:
- the repairer invoice disclosed by the Plaintiff’s legal representatives was issued by an entity associated with the Plaintiff’s legal representatives and not by the actual repairer of the Plaintiff’s vehicle; and
- the Plaintiff’s vehicle was, in fact, repaired for less than $1,500.00.
Upon discovery of the actual cost of repairs, the insurer made an offer to pay the Plaintiff’s actual cost of repairs, less the defence costs incurred on the basis the Court proceedings had been issued precipitously considering the failure on the part of the Plaintiff to disclosure the correct invoice for repairs. The offer was not accepted.
Further, upon discovery of the actual cost of repairs, we filed a Defence pleading the repair costs as claimed of more than $10,000.00 was inflated, and that the actual cost of repairs was less than $1,500.00. No response was provided of behalf of the Plaintiff to these allegations that were raised in the Defence.
At the Trial of the matter the Magistrate agreed that the Plaintiff’s repair costs were in the sum of $1,500.00 as the Plaintiff had not properly responded to the allegations raised in the Defence. Judgment was entered for the Plaintiff in the sum of the actual repair costs.
The matter then proceeded to a cost argument.
It was argued on behalf of the Plaintiff its costs should be paid as the Plaintiff had secured a Judgment of $1,500.00. We argued that the offer the insurer made upon receipt of the actual repair invoice should have been accepted and highlighted the conduct of the Repairer Recovery Syndicate to the Court. The Magistrate agreed with our submissions and ordered the Plaintiff pay costs to the Defendant on an indemnity basis from the date the insurer’s offer was made. Those costs were in excess of $20,000.00.
Relevance of Decision
Insurers are again reminded to be on the lookout for Repairer Recovery Syndicates claiming inflated repairs costs, or cost that have no relevance to the actual costs that were incurred in repairing the vehicle.
Insurers need to insist on the actual repair invoice, as well as parts and sublet invoices in the event those are included in the repair invoice.