At court The magistrate may also refer a As defendant you then have the Enforcing the court order For more information and help You can represent yourself or have a lawyer. People usually represent matter to a Community Justice Centre. opportunity to give evidence and to call any witnesses. The plaintiff (getting the money) The person who is owed money Chamber Registrars/Local Courts Contact your nearest local court (under ‘Local Courts’ in the telephone HAVE YOU can then cross-examine you and by the court order is the judgment themselves in the Small Claims Division. The Court does not provide an interpreter for civil At the hearing Magistrates must act fairly and give each party a proper opportunity to your defence witnesses. When all the evidence has been creditor. The person who owes money is the judgment debtor. directory) for free legal assistance on court procedures. Community Justice Centres CRASHED YOUR Provide neutral mediators to help both parties find a solution to the claims so you will need to make your own arrangements. present their case. The usual way to present a case is with witnesses heard, each party has the opportunity to provide a summary The court will only enforce an order if requested to do so. conflict. Call 9790 0656 to find out about the centre closest to you. CAR? If you cannot attend court, contact and documents. Witnesses have to of their case and to point out any Orders can usually only be Community Legal Centres the other party and, if they agree, be at court except in the Small weaknesses in the other party's enforced within a 12 year period. Provide free legal advice and information. Call 9318 2355 or apply for an adjournment. If you Claims Division where evidence is case. 1300 888 529 to locate the centre closest to you. Examination Notice don't turn up, the Court can make usually allowed only in document Magistrate makes a decision The judgment creditor can have Credit Help Line court orders in your absence. form. Most hearings start and finish on the court issue an Examination Call 1800 808 488 for information about your nearest financial counsellor Pre-hearing Witnesses can only give evidence the same day and take a few Notice requiring the judgment and advice on negotiating with creditors. Claims under $10,000 are in relation to relevant facts. Facts hours. The magistrate will make a debtor to go to court. At court Insurance Ombudsman Service (IOS) usually heard in the Small Claims are what people directly hear or decision and explain the reasons the debtor must tell the creditor Investigates complaints about insurers. If you believe an insurer is acting Division. At a pre-trial review see and are not mere opinions. for the decision. This is called a all about their income and assets. unfairly call 1300 78 08 08. the registrar at the Court will help The Court will only hear opinions judgment. In complicated cases, A debtor who does not attend from experts. the magistrate may reserve their can be brought to court by a sheriff. LawAccess NSW both parties identify the issues and decision. Call 1300 888 529 (1300 889 529 TTY) for legal information, explore possible settlement. Garnishee order referral or advice. Bring along witness statements and The magistrate will also make The judgment creditor can ask the other documents. orders for costs. Usually, the losing Court to ‘garnishee’ the debtor's Law Society of NSW (Community Referral Service) party has to pay the costs of the wages and/or bank account. Call 9926 0300 or 1800 422 713 for information or referral to a private If the matter is not settled, it will successful party. This is a court order requiring an lawyer in your area. then be listed for a hearing. Appealing the decision employer or bank manager to give Legal Aid NSW Hot tip! Use the pre-trial review to Reviewing the arbitrator’s decision the debtor's money to the Legal advice is free from all our offices. Contact your nearest Legal Aid negotiate a settlement. If you wish to challenge an creditor. Only a portion of wages Office (under L to Z in the phone directory) to make an appointment or arbitrator’s decision, you should can be garnisheed. Social security call 1300 888 529. Claims over $10,000 are heard in pensions cannot be garnisheed. the General Division. The first apply for a review within 28 days. NSW Police Service Documents that can be used in court date in this division is called evidence include photographs, Appealing the magistrate’s decision Writ for Levy of Property Police Assistance Line (PAL) a callover date. If you wish to challenge a The judgment creditor can obtain You can report anything that is not an emergency by calling 131 444 sketches, quotes, invoices and magistrate’s decision, you must a writ of execution. This is a court (24 hours, 7 days a week). If for some reason you are not diaries. If you wish to show any apply to the Supreme Court within order that allows a sheriff into the able to attend on that date, documents to the Court you must debtor's home to remove and sell Insurance Services Unit contact the other party. If the first show them to the other party. 28 days. Provides copies of the police incident report. Call 8835 8377. items by auction in order to pay other party agrees to postpone, Giving evidence Appeals from the Small Claims the debt. Motor Accidents Authority of NSW (Claims Advisory Service) write to the registrar. If you do As plaintiff you must prove: Division can only succeed in very Call 1300 656 919 for advice on how to make a claim for personal not attend, an order can be made limited circumstances, involving The sheriff may not take or sell: • you own the vehicle injuries compensation or to obtain the name of the other driver’s in your absence. certain types of errors of • bedroom and kitchen furniture • who the other party is Greenslip insurance company. law.Appeals from the General • tools of trade to a certain value In the General Division, suitable • that the other party was Division also need to disclose an • someone else’s goods. Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW) matters (those that are not negligent and error of law. Bankruptcy For information about registration and licensing of cars and insurer details complex) can be referred to • how much damage you If the judgment debt is over call 13 22 13. arbitration. An arbitration is less suffered. formal than a hearing before a $2000 the creditor can apply to For more information about the law, see the Legal Aid website: To do this, you need to briefly magistrate. the Federal Court to have the www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au describe your claim and call any debtor declared bankrupt. Anyone If the matter is not referred to witnesses. You can then ask your arbitration, it will be listed for a hearing. witnesses any questions. This is called examination. The who receives a Bankruptcy Notice should seek advice from either a Produced by the Publications Unit, Legal Aid NSW What to do about financial counsellor (see back For more copies of this brochure call 9219 5028 or email defendant can then ask your witnesses questions. This is called cross-examination. panel) or lawyer immediately. email@example.com Also online: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au property damage January 2006 After a car accident: W h a t yo u s h o u l d d o At the scene After the accident Negotiating Going to court The court’s decision • Get the other iate Try negotiating the 1. If you are the plaintiff, file a At court Call police Collect evidence. got Attend the court 1. You lose—the court can Ne matter yourself or Statement of Claim and serve driver’s details. For serious accidents Get quotes. use a mediator. hearing and argue order you to pay • Get details from report to the police Paying for damage it on the defendant. Court your case. damages and legal costs. witnessess. immediately. For a minor Send a letter of demand. 2. If you are the defendant, 2. You win—you pay • Record scene and accident call the Police Respond to a letter of lodge a Defence and/or a vehicle damage. Assistance Line within 24 Court nothing and most of your demand. Notice of Cross-Claim hours on 131 444. legal costs are paid. within 28 days. How will this brochure help you? You’ve had an accident After the accident Collect evidence Negotiating who will pay Going to court Filing claims and cross claims This brochure will help you if are 1) Comprehensive insurance If you did not get this information at If negotiations fail, your next resort If you are the plaintiff, fill out a Whose fault is it? At the scene If you choose not to claim on your not: covers damage to your own the scene of the accident, you is court action. Think carefully Statement of Claim, setting out the Any driver who fails to take • All drivers must provide their insurance or do not have insurance • insured for motor vehicle car as well as damage to other should collect it as early as possible before taking court action. If you details of your claim. reasonable care is responsible for name, contact details, licence and you think the other driver is at property damage; or cars and property. afterwards. Ask witnesses to write a lose you may have to pay the other If you are also claiming for more damage caused in an accident. and vehicle registration fault, then you can negotiate about • claiming on your insurance. statement about what they saw. side’s legal costs. Even if you win, 2) Third party property It is not always easy to decide; numbers to the other driver. whose fault it was, how much than repairs eg. the cost of hiring a Draw a diagram of the accident. you may not be able to recover It will assist you to sort out your insurance usually only covers sometimes both drivers are If you get the registration damage was caused and when replacement vehicle, complete an Take photographs of the damage to any money. Also, court action ordinary Statement of Claim. You claim in or out of court. However, damage to another car or responsible. number, you can find out the payment will be made. your car. These can be useful if the takes time and can be stressful. will need legal advice for this. information in this brochure does property. However, some details of the car owner through If you think the other driver was at Even if the police do not charge case ends up in court. See the list in not cover everything that can policies cover damage to your the Roads and Traffic Authority fault, write a letter of demand. Ask An alternative to court action, File your claim at the court. Serve it you with a driving offence, it does previous panel for more detail. happen after a car accident. If you car as well, if the other driver of NSW (see back panel). the other driver to pay for the where the claim is for $3,000 or less on the defendant. Court fees are need further information, seek is at fault, and is uninsured. not mean that you are not • Write down information about Hot tip! Ask witnesses to write and the other party has property added to the amount of the claim repairs to your car and any other legal advice. responsible. There is a difference the other car. their statements before they forget insurance, is to make a claim with and should be returned to you if All car owners in NSW must have losses. Attach a copy of the quote. between a driving offence (criminal • Get details from any witnesses. the details. the Insurance Ombudsman Service you win your claim. Your claim This brochure is not for compulsory third Party (CTP) or responsibility) and responsibility for Ask the other driver to respond • Take notes about the Get a quote (or quotes) to prove within a specific time eg. 14 days. (IOS) on 1300 78 08 08. must be served within 6 months of personal injury claims. ‘greenslip’ insurance. However, damage (civil liability). circumstances of the accident the amount of damage to your car. If you do start court action, you being filed. CTP does not cover claims for If you receive a claim or letter of The information in this brochure If you own the car but somebody and any damage to property. You can claim the reasonable cost will need to know the name and property damage. It only covers demand it is usually best to respond. If you are the defendant who is does not deal with personal injury else was driving it, you can still be • Take a photograph (eg. of of repairs. If the cost of repairs is address of the other party or claims for personal injury. If the other driver is insured, you may being served with a Statement of claims. If you have been injured in responsible if the driver is your skidmarks or debris on the more than the cost of replacing parties. This is usually the driver an accident call the Motor It is your choice whether you claim road) or draw a diagram of the receive a letter from their insurer. If Claim and you disagree with it, you agent and was at fault. (eg. a friend your car, then your car will be but can also include the owner. Accidents Authority (MAA) Claims on your insurance policy. If you accident scene. you believe you are not at fault, write should lodge a Defence within 28 was driving while running an errand considered a write-off. If your car Advisory Service on 1300 656 919 make a claim, you may have to pay • Note the time of the accident, and explain. If you disagree with the Court action for property damage days of the date that it was served. for you). In this situation, the driver is a write-off, get a report on the for help in making a claim. an excess and may lose your no- location, street lighting, traffic cost of repairs you can obtain an must usually start within six years of If you miss the deadline, the plaintiff is still equally responsible. pre-accident value of the car, less claim bonus. conditions, weather and independent quote. If you believe the date of the accident. Drivers can apply for default judgment. The You should do Calling police any salvage value. Court may allow you to set aside anything else you think may that you are partly at fault, offer to under 18 must similarly claim within You should this as soon as You must call police if: have contributed to the crash. Hot tip! Get more than one quote pay a reasonable cost. six years from when they turn 18. the default judgment if you have a discuss the possible as time • a person is injured • If police attend they will speak on the damage to your car to assist good enough reason for the delay. accident with Write ‘without prejudice’ on the top Hot tip! Start your action promptly. limits apply. • a car needs to be towed away to each driver and witnesses. in negotiations. If you are served with a Statement of For example, your insurer • a driver fails to stop or fails to of any letter so it cannot be used as The Local Court is divided into before you admit They may issue an You may also be entitled to evidence in any later court case. Claim and you think that the other the accident must usually be exchange details or two divisions: responsibility or enter into any infringement notice. Ask the compensation for other expenses party was at fault, you can file a cross reported to police • a driver is believed to be under You can negotiate directly with negotiations. It is usually a term of police for their name and or loss such as towing fees, loss of 1) Small Claims Division for claim. File a Notice of Cross-Claim within 28 days. The personal injury the influence of alcohol or other the other driver or through an your insurance not to admit any contact details. Later, if personal matters under $10,000 within 28 days. claim to the insurer must usually drugs. independent mediator (see back responsibility for either the required, belongings and 2) General Division for claims of be made within 6 months. panel). The defendant can also add accident or the extent of the If police do not attend you should you can hire of a up to $60,000. another party to the proceedings damage caused. report the accident. Call the Police get a replacement If you do settle, make sure the Hot tip! Make sure you comply The person who starts legal where the other party may also be Assistance Line (PAL) within 24 copy of vehicle. You agreement is written down and with all the time limits. If your claim is rejected by your proceedings is called the plaintiff. responsible (eg. employer or owner hours on 131 444. the police can also claim signed by both parties. The insurer, you can appeal that The person who is being sued is of the car). This is also done by If you are insured report interest if the agreement should be recorded as full decision to the Insurance called the defendant. filing a Notice of Cross-Claim. If you are insured you can claim on (see back matter goes to settlement of the claim, otherwise your insurance. There are two Ombudsman Service (IOS). You panel). court. the payment you make could later Hot tip! Local Court Chamber types of insurance for property have 90 days to make that appeal. be regarded as part payment only. Registrars can assist you with damage. drafting court documents.