Oliver Kent, Trainee Personal Injury Solicitor, discusses the dramatic rise in road traffic accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers and explains what you can do if you have an accident.
Failing to stop after being involved in an accident is a criminal offence. However, it remains a common occurrence for drivers who do not have valid insurance to leave the scene immediately after. These drivers are broadly referred to as ‘uninsured’ or ‘untraced’ drivers and can cause difficulty when looking to claim for personal injury or damages.
In fact, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), a non-for-profit organisation set up for victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers, estimates that 1 in 38 vehicles in the UK are uninsured.
Victims of accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers can be left feeling distressed and unsure what to do next. It is possible to pursue compensation if you have been injured or your property has been damaged, but steps must be followed to ensure this process can run as smoothly as possible.
The MIB offers compensation to victims where the ‘other driver’ was uninsured or did not stop at the scene. It considers claims made by the driver of the vehicle and their passengers too.
In order to make a claim through the MIB, you need to prove the following:
- The driver of the vehicle that caused the accident was negligent.
- This negligence led to you or your passengers being injured.
- This negligence led to damage to your vehicle or a vehicle you were travelling in.
- This negligence led to loss (this is relevant where you need to claim for damage to your personal property or lost pay due to time off of work).
What should you do after an accident?
If you are involved in an accident, it is important to do the following immediately after;
- Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period.
- If anyone has been seriously injured, call an ambulance as soon as possible.
- Give your name, address and vehicle registration number to anyone else involved in the accident. If the vehicle owner is someone else then give their name too.
If you are injured or suffer a loss and believe you are entitled to make a personal injury claim, it will be beneficial to:
- Obtain the name and addresses of all parties involved
- Take a note of the registration numbers of all vehicles involved including their colour, make and model.
- If the at fault party has left the scene, report the accident to the police who will give you a crime reference number.
- Collect any names and telephone numbers of any witnesses at the scene.
- Take photographs of the scene including vehicle positions and damage. It is also important to take pictures of the surroundings, showing any junctions, road signs and buildings.
- Notify your insurer that you have been involved in an accident. This is important to do even in situations where you don’t want to make a claim on your policy.
- Attend a hospital if you feel injured. If the injuries sustained are not urgent or life-threatening then arrange an appointment with your GP. It is worth noting that injury symptoms often develop several hours after an accident and your GP should be visited in these circumstances too.
- Keep a record and any receipts of all the expenses you have as a result of the accident. These can include medication or travel costs and money lost from time off of work.
MIB or your insurance?
Where you direct your claim because of the uninsured or untraced driver will depend on if you are injured and what damage has occurred.
- If you are injured and wish to claim for personal injury then you will need to submit a claim against the MIB. A process which we can help you with.
- If your vehicle has been damaged you will need to claim against your own insurance for the repairs. This is because the other party cannot be found or they do not have an insurer to lodge the claim against. It is important to note that the availability of this option depends on the insurance policy you hold. If you claim for vehicle damage it will likely mean that your no claims bonus would be lost and your insurer may increase the premium cost at the next renewal period.
How can we help?
Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors have extensive experience dealing with the MIB and would be happy to assist you if you have been involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured or untraced driver.
For further advice please contact our Personal Injury Team on 01908 689302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org