What is Credit Hire Recovery?
Credit Hire Recovery litigation is an area of tort law (putting individuals back into the position they were in before an accident that was not their fault).
Who are Breens Solicitors?
Breens Solicitors is a firm of solicitors based in the North West of England. We have been dealing with Credit Hire Recovery for more than 20 years.
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority ref 636634.
How do you have my contact details?
Following an incident involving your car, you contacted your insurer to arrange a courtesy car. Your insurer referred you to a Credit Hire Organisation (CHO). You signed an agreement when you received the hire car. This is a Credit Hire Agreement. You have hired the car directly from the CHO who has not charged you any money up front.
If the CHO is unable to recover the full cost of the hire from the insurer of the driver who was at fault (third party insurer), Solicitors are required to recover their fees through the courts.
As part of the agreement you signed when you took possession of the hire car, you agreed for your contact details to be passed to a solicitor if the CHO was unable to recover the full cost of their fees from the third party insurer.
My insurer arranged the car so is not this a courtesy car?
Insurance companies do not keep a fleet of courtesy cars and therefore will often refer you on to a Credit Hire Organisation who will arrange a car for you.
The accident was not my fault so why do I have to deal with this?
The issue of who was at fault is separate to the issue of recovering the full amount of the hire charges. When you sign a Credit Hire Agreement, you are signing to say you understand the contractual terms. Within that agreement, you agree to co-operate fully and that you are ultimately liable for the fees until they are discharged. This means regardless of whether it was your fault or not, you must co-operate with your solicitor who is acting for you.
Why doesn’t the third party insurer just pay the hire costs?
It is usual for the third party insurer to dispute the fees and in some cases instruct a defendant solicitor. The defendant solicitor will check your need to hire a vehicle so you will need to be able to state why you needed a replacement vehicle.
In these circumstances you are legally bound to ‘mitigate your losses’ in other words you cannot gain from the accident and must make all attempts to keep your losses to minimum.
One of the main arguments a defendant solicitor will use is based on case law that has developed in the area of credit hire and is a hypothetical question, that is, could have afforded to hire the car without the use of credit (in other words pay for a car rental from a company such as Hertz or Rent-a-Car). High Street car rentals are cheaper, but you pay upfront. In this instance a third party insurer will argue for the rates to be reduced to a Basic Hire Rate (BHR) and they must provide compliant evidence in relation to this. As your solicitor we will argue impecuniosity (the state of having little or no money). We can only make this argument if you did not have the funds to pay for a hire car upfront. We will therefore need to see your bank statements. You do not have to send us your bank statements, but it may weaken your case if you do not.
What happens next?
We will contact you and advise you that we need your co-operation to help us recover the hire amount from the third party insurer. Under the CHO’s the terms and conditions you signed, you must co-operate, or you will be fully liable for their fees.
The third party insurer will appoint their own solicitor to defend the claim. They are known as defendant solicitors, and we are claimant solicitors.
Who do you act for me or the CHO?
While the CHO instructed us to contact you, you are the claimant and are therefore our client.
As our client, you are covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance and have the right to complain if you are not happy with our service.
What happens once I have signed your Terms and Conditions?
As claimant solicitors we will negotiate with the defendant solicitors. If a reasonable compromise cannot be found, we will issue a claim via the courts. While most matters settle out of court, we will always be ready to take the case to court, instructing an expert barrister where needed.
Credit Hire Recovery requires specialist knowledge of the current case law regarding Credit Hire claims, and we have a team of people with many years’ experience who can guide you through the process to achieve the best outcome.
Ultimately we will act in your best interests but in order for us to do this, you must co-operate with us and supply us with the information we request.
What happens if it goes to court?
If we are unable to reach an agreement with the third party solicitors, we will issue a claim against the defendant. We will instruct a barrister to represent you in court, but you will also need to attend court.
You can claim for any reasonable expenses such as travel to the court however in some instances the hearings are heard via a remote video method.
What if you lose the case?
We only take cases to court that we believe we have more than a 50% chance of winning. In the unlikely event the judge rules for the defendant, the CHO will cover the costs. The only time you will be liable for any fees is if you refuse to co-operate or attend court or it was found you provided fraudulent information to us.
How do I contact you?
Following our initial contact by phone, we will correspond with you by email and text. We use DocuSign (electronic signature software) to send forms for you to sign.
If you wish to speak to us, please call 01704 532890 and ask to be put through to a member of the Pre-Issue Team. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the matter progresses beyond the preliminary stages, you will be assigned a case handler and given a reference and details of how to contact them.