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Claims involving uninsured or untraced car drivers

23rd December 2014

You may be alarmed to learn that there are more than 1.2 million uninsured drivers on UK roads. What happens if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident with an uninsured driver, or the person causing the accident cannot be traced?

There are more than 350,000 “hit and run” accidents in the UK every year. Most accidents fortunately do not involve personal injury, but even cases involving property damage and expense can cause worry.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was established in 1946 by agreement between the Department of Transport and the motor insurance industry. It is funded by a levy on all car insurance premiums, and the fund which results is used to compensate the victims of uninsured or untraced drivers.

In addition MIB is responsible for operating the Green Card System here in the UK. This is an EU requirement and allows UK citizens to make claims following accidents involving foreign-registered vehicles. The foreign insurer will often have a UK-based agent to handle claims.

If the driver causing an accident is uninsured then claims will be considered for the damaged vehicle (if the insurance cover on the vehicle is not comprehensive). Hire charges and damage to other property will also be considered. These claims are usually subject to a £300 excess. A claim can also be made for injury compensation and treatment costs, together with losses resulting from injury such as lost earnings. Limited legal costs are also paid by MIB for this type of accident claim. For claims involving untraced drivers the same applies, although damage to the vehicle can only be claimed if the offending vehicle can be identified.

There are conditions to making a claim;

  • You must make your claim for injury within three years of the accident date
  • You must make your claim for vehicle/property damage within three years of the accident date in Scotland and within six years in the rest of the UK. (it is 9 months if the other driver is untraced)
  • All accidents must be reported to the police within 14 days for personal injury or within five days for vehicle/property damage. If this does not happen you may not be able to make an MIB claim

MIB will also make a contribution towards legal costs. This contribution may not cover all of the costs so you might need to contribute to these from the compensation you receive.

Clearly all is not lost if you are the victim of an untraced or uninsured driver. The key is to act fast and seek advice early.

Paul Lewis, Partner and Head of Accident Management

George Ide
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