Have you ever been involved in a motoring accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, let’s hope that there was only vehicle damage and no-one got hurt. However, what do you do if it turns out that the other driver doesn’t have motor insurance? Driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without insurance against third party risk is an offence.
Here, Mike James – a freelance motoring journalist working with UK based solicitors George Ide, discusses the best route of action in the unfortunate circumstances of accidents with uninsured drivers.
It is an alarming statistic that there are now more than a million uninsured drivers on UK roads, so the chances of you having a car accident involving an uninsured driver are not as remote as you might hope. It is reported that uninsured drivers add in the region to £30 to every insurance premium. And one last worrying UK statistic: more than 350,000 hit-and-run accidents take place every year.
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver, you should contact your motor insurers in the first instance to report the accident and find out what your options are. You should also contact the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) without delay. This non-profit organisation for innocent victims of negligent uninsured and untraced drivers was set up in 1946 by agreement between the Department of Transport and the motor insurance industry.
MIB are working in close partnership with insurers, the police and the DVLA to reduce uninsured driving on UK roads; levels have dropped by around 50% in the last 10 years as a result. The Motor Insurance Database (MID) is the only central record of all insured vehicles in the UK, and is continually updated by insurers.
Crucially, MIB deals with over 20,000 individual claims against uninsured and untraced motorists per year. It is funded through a levy on all our insurance premiums, and the fund is used to compensate innocent parties who are legally insured themselves.
If you are the victim of an uninsured driver or untraceable car, get in touch with the MIB as soon as you can to seek advice and make a claim. Detailed information on how to make a claim can be found on their website here.
- In the first instance, accidents must be reported to the police as soon as possible – within 5 days for vehicle/property damage and within 14 days for personal injury. You may not be able to make an MIB claim otherwise.
- Claims for personal injury must be made to MIB within 3 years of the date of the accident.
- Claims for vehicle and/or property damage must be made to MIB within 3 years of the date of the accident in Scotland, or within 6 years in the rest of the UK, or 9 months if the driver cannot be traced.
If the driver who has caused the accident is not insured, claims will be considered for the damaged vehicle, car hire charges and damage caused to any other property. A nominal excess is usually applied to any claim. If personal injury has occurred, a claim can be made for injury compensation and treatment costs, as well as loss of earnings and some legal costs.
While an MIB claim provides some recourse in what could otherwise be a nightmare scenario, it is important to remain realistic. The process of claiming via MIB may take some time, especially since information gathering is likely to be a lengthy task, with witness statements and medical reports also needing to be obtained. If you are at all worried about a claim, you may feel more comfortable taking professional advice and discussing your particular situation with a solicitor who specialises in personal injury and accident management claims.