Being in an accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver is understandably frustrating. According to one survey, there were approximately 1.2 million uninsured drivers on the road in 2013 so it’s no wonder accidents involving uninsured drivers are so common. In the UK, third party insurance is the legal minimum insurance required and this covers injuries or damages to other people and vehicles if you’re in an accident.
An uninsured driver is a person who is driving without any insurance or without adequate or appropriate insurance. For example, if a person is driving a car which is insured but they, as an individual, are not insured to drive that car, then they will be classed as an uninsured driver. It’s important to remember that car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, so not having insurance means that the guilty party is breaking the law and can expect to pay a fine, receive points on their license or be disqualified from driving.
An untraced driver is a person who leaves the scene of the accident without leaving their details and are also known as ‘hit and run’ drivers. Although not always the case, it’s often likely that an untraced driver could be driving a stolen or uninsured car so are therefore breaking the law.
What to do at the scene of the accident
If you are hit by an untraced driver then there might be very little you can do at the scene of the accident in terms of gathering information, but it’s really important that you inform the police due to the likelihood of the car being stolen or uninsured. You must inform the police as soon as possible. An uninsured driver may be reluctant to give you any details so there’s no guarantee that even if the driver sticks around you’ll be able to get any information from them. What you can do in both circumstances is gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident:
- Take images on your mobile phone
- Record a description of the driver
- Ask for contact details of any witnesses
- Take down the make, model, colour and number plate details of the other car involved if possible
- Inform the police of the crash and let them know the driver is uninsured or untraced
- Inform your insurance company of the accident
What to do after the accident
If you’ve been injured as a result of being struck by an uninsured or untraced driver then your Solicitor will need to contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). The MIB is a not-for-profit organisation set up by motor insurers to support drivers hit by uninsured or untraced drivers, or UK drivers who are involved in car accidents abroad. The MIB has an uninsured and untraced drivers agreement which enables people involved in accidents under these circumstances to claim compensation against the guilty party. The two agreements are slightly different:
- The Uninsured Drivers Agreement enables people who have been hit by an uninsured driver to claim compensation against an uninsured third party driver. If the uninsured driver can’t pay the compensation, the MIB will then settle the entire claim.
- The Untraced Drivers Agreement enables people who have been injured as a result of being in an accident with an unidentified driver to claim compensation for their injuries.
Making a claim with the MIB
Many people prefer to contact the MIB under the guidance of a personal injury solicitor to ensure they have the greatest chance possible of being awarded compensation. This is particularly important as certain requirements need to be met for a claim to be successful:
- You must report the incident to the police, the agreement requires you to do this within 14 days of the accident occurring if you are injured. For damage to property, you must make a report within 5 days.
- Even though the driver is uninsured or untraced, you are still obliged to make enquiries to identify the driver, details with the police, try to contact the motorist in person, and/or trace the registered keeper via DVLA and contacting them.
- If the driver can’t be identified, see if you can identify the vehicle involved through any registration number you have been given or from information from witnesses.
- Contact your insurers – insurance policies require all accidents to be reported and your insurers might be able to trace the other party’s insurers. Your insurer will also have access to the Motor Insurance Database which may contain details of the motorist’s insurers.
- Claims for property damage must be made within 9 months of the accident date and a £300 excess applies.
- Personal injury claims must be made within 3 years of the date of the accident.
- Prove fault. The burden is upon the claimant to prove that the accident was the fault of an uninsured or untraced driver. Merely having an accident which results in injury with an untraced or uninsured driver is not sufficient. You must prove fault on the part of the motorist before the MIB will entertain a claim.
- If you are making a claim for injury you must prove that the injury was suffered as a result of the negligence of the other driver.
To apply to make a claim you will need to fill in a claim form which you can download here and then go through this with your solicitor or submit the claim directly. If you do use a solicitor, it’s important that they have experience of dealing with MIB claims to ensure you have the best chance possible of claiming compensation. On the claim form you can apply for the following:
- Personal injury
- Losses caused by personal injury or death
- Medical costs for treating the injury
- Loss of earnings
- You can also apply for damages, vehicle repairs or replacement and hire vehicle costs if you don’t have comprehensive insurance. There are certain restrictions relating to making a claim for property damage which you will need to discuss with a Solicitor.
What happens next?
Once you have submitted your claim, the MIB will usually ask for police confirmation of the accident and then find out who is liable based on the evidence presented. The length of time it takes for a claim to be settled will depend on a number of factors including:
- How long the police take to investigate the accident
- Whether witnesses can be found
- The extent of your injuries and how long it takes for them to be diagnosed
How much will it cost me to make a claim?
If you claim succeeds and an award for compensation is made by the MIB, all you pay is a fixed success fee based upon the level of compensation received. We guarantee that the success fee will never be more than 20% + vat. If the claim is unsuccessful there will be no cost to pay. If you have had an accident involving an untraced or uninsured driver then please contact ASD on 0800 163 622 and one of our Specialist Lawyers will be happy to assist and guide you through the process.