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Accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers

All drivers are required (since the Road Traffic Act of 1930) to have in force an insurance policy to cover their liability for bodily injury to or damage to third party property which arises from the use of a motor vehicle. Nonetheless, there are still cases in the UK where uninsured drivers or untraced drivers cause road traffic accidents and the question is who pays when this happens? The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is often able to pay where compulsory insurance should have been in place but it was not.

The Uninsured Drivers Agreement requires the MIB to meet unsatisfied Civil Court Judgments against identified motorists who may not have been insured as required by the Road Traffic Act 1988. The Untraced Drivers’ Agreement requires the MIB to consider applications for compensation from victims of “hit and run” motorists and in other circumstances where the motorist responsible for an accident cannot be identified. The MIB’s obligations are linked to the compulsory insurance requirement of the Road Traffic Act, so the protection provided is limited to where there is a legal requirement to insure. The main groups of people they are able to compensate are:

  • Victims of uninsured drivers
  • Victims of untraced drivers, usually referred to as hit and run accidents
  • UK residents involved in accidents with foreign-registered vehicles, either in the UK or elsewhere in Europe

Uninsured drivers and making the relevant enquiries

Make enquiries to ensure that the motorist is an uninsured driver before considering the next steps. The absence of insurance information or the deliberate withholding of it may be an indication that the other driver doesn’t have insurance cover. To help establish whether it is a claim the MIB can help with, it is imperative to gather as many details as possible. You will need: the name and address of the other driver in addition to the registration number and make of the other vehicle. If the other driver tells you the claim must go through his employer, seek details of his employer at first instance.

Sometimes however, the person driving with constructive knowledge they are not insured will refuse to provide you with their insurance details. This is a criminal offence and you can report it to the police immediately but be sure to obtain the details you can before escalating the matter. But do remember to report your accident to your insurer as well, as your insurer may be able to locate the other driver’s insurance or absence of this.

Unidentified drivers in a hit and run scenario

If you are the victim in an accident with a driver who has not been identified (a hit and run) you may be able to make a claim from MIB. It is imperative that you report your accident to the police as soon as possible. This must be within five days of the accident for damage to your vehicle or property and within fourteen days when injuries have been caused. Where it is not possible to adhere to these time limits, the matter must be reported as soon as reasonably possible.

The very nature of hit and run accidents is that identifying the driver can be particularly difficult. You should still make enquiries to see whether you can ascertain details of the driver. Check the accident report with the police to see whether information is available and make contact with the driver where it is appropriate. Again, you should inform your insurer as they may be able to assist you.

Accidents in the UK including a foreign vehicle

Like every case, you should find out whether an insurer is involved and whether they provide cover. Obtaining the other driver’s details is usually done at the roadside but where that is not possible, you should gather as much information as possible. If your accident involved a foreign lorry then it is very important you gather as many details as possible. This is because, in some countries, trailers are registered separately so do get the registration numbers from both the front and back of the lorry.

The other driver may present what is known as a ‘green card’ and this is international proof of insurance. Under the green card system, the insurer of the foreign-registered vehicle will have an agent that can deal with your claim. Those agents are answerable to the MIB. If your vehicle has been damaged then it is worth obtaining two estimates for repairs. This is because the law requires innocent victims to mitigate their losses and this assists such an aim.

Obtaining independent legal advice

You are free to seek independent legal advice at any stage of your claim but usually it is better to obtain this at the outset. We are able to assist with all types of claims against uninsured or untraced drivers and can generally advise under a “no win no fee” Conditional Fee Agreement.

Our team have handled road traffic accident claims for decades and possess the knowledge to ensure that you get what you are entitled to when you place a claim. Once you have gathered all the information you can our team can assist you with making a claim for any damages you have suffered at the expense of an uninsured driver or an untraced driver. It is particularly important to ensure that every aspect of your claim is covered and that is why we would recommend obtaining legal advice.

If you would like to speak us regarding a claim against an uninsured or untraced driver then we would be happy to discuss this with you. You can do this by telephone or alternatively you can contact us online through our web form.

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