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Can You Claim Compensation For A Hit And Run?

Can you claim compensation for a hit and run? What if the vehicle responsible for an accident is not insured? Gemma Tunney explains how our North East Solicitors deal with the many more tricky situations of a bump out on the roads that could have been avoided....

Third party motor insurance is a legal requirement if a person uses their vehicle on a road or in a public place. Likewise, it is an offence to flee the scene of an accident without providing your details. Of course, not everyone abides by the law and it would be unfair if injured victims could not claim compensation in these situations. The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) was set up in 1946 to tackle this issue and compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers.

In any road traffic accident, a person should obtain as much information as possible including the other driver’s name, address, vehicle registration number and make and model of the vehicle. Any other information which may assist, such as witness details and taking photographs of the vehicles involved, should also be gathered. Dash cam footage can greatly assist in proving who is at fault for an accident. We are lucky that we live in a world where dash cams are becoming ever more popular. Victims should also report all accidents to their insurer.

If the other driver fails to provide their insurance details, the matter should be reported to the police as it is a criminal offence. A Motor Insurance Database search can also be completed which will confirm whether the vehicle is insured. Thanks to advances in modern technology and the vast majority of people now having smartphones, this search can be completed at the roadside.

Uninsured Drivers

Being hit by an uninsured driver does not necessarily mean a person will not be compensated for their injuries as a claim can be submitted to the MIB.

Where the at fault vehicle is not insured a claim can be submitted to the MIB and they will consider any compensation claims that arise from the accident. They can consider the cost of repairing or replacing the victim’s vehicle, other financial loss and also the victim’s injuries. Where the victim has comprehensive motor insurance, their claim for vehicle and property damage should be made to their own insurer.

The MIB will carry out its own investigations to determine who is at fault and consider what compensation the victim might be entitled to. They may obtain a report from the police and may also arrange inspections of the vehicles involved. The MIB may also arrange for the victim to see a medical expert and arrange any treatment needed. Should it be appropriate, the MIB will award a victim compensation.

In the event that matters cannot be resolved to a Claimant’s satisfaction, an Uninsured Driver can still be sued with the MIB being a party to the proceedings so that a Court can determine any unresolved issues.

Untraced Drivers

Often the vehicles involved in an accident will stop and the drivers exchange details at the scene. However, for whatever reason some vehicles fail to stop and this is commonly known as a ‘hit and run’. This can leave a victim believing that they have no means of being compensated because they don’t know who caused their injuries. This is simply not true.

Where the vehicle has fled the scene and cannot be traced a claim can be submitted to the MIB. They will consider a claim for compensation for both property damage and personal injury. The MIB will however only meet claims for property damage where a person has suffered a ‘significant personal injury’. This is classed as a bodily injury resulting in either death, spending two nights in hospital as an inpatient or receiving three sessions of outpatient treatment. The MIB will also only make payments for property damage where it exceeds £400.

If a victim wishes to make a claim for damage to their vehicle, the MIB require the matter to be reported to the police within five days of the accident. Where a victim wishes to make a claim for personal injury the accident must be reported to the police within 14 days of the accident.

Again the MIB will investigate the matter and will compensate a victim where appropriate.

In the case of Untraced Drivers there is much less recourse available because there is no Defendant to sue. Disputes can however be referred to an Independent Arbitrator.

Remember, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or untraced driver you may still be able to claim compensation. We are successfully pursuing claims on behalf of clients where it has been necessary to submit their claims to the MIB.

If you would like to speak to a personal injury specialist about making a claim for compensation, then please contact our personal injury team as soon as possible. We are here to help.