Car insurance offences are on the rise in the UK. The last five years has seen the number of offences increase by 21%, with an estimated one million uninsured drivers on the UK’s roads.
If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or untraceable driver, you can claim compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
How can the Motor Insurers’ Bureau help?
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is a not-for-profit organisation that was set up after the second world war to help victims of uninsured or untraceable drivers get compensation. The MIB will consider a claim for injuries, as well as for damage to vehicles or property.
Every insurer in the UK is required by law under the Road Traffic Act 1988 to be a member of the MIB and to pay contributions towards its funding.
Am I entitled to claim?
If you’ve had an accident which was caused by an uninsured or untraceable driver, you can put in a claim to the MIB. All road users in the UK, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar are eligible to claim, including drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
You must start your claim within three years of the date of the accident. However, the MIB recommend that you start your claim as soon as you can. If you start a claim sooner, evidence like witness statements will be easier to gather and it is usually easier to build a stronger case.
What do I need to do to make a claim?
You must have reported the accident to the police – you will need to provide the crime reference number during the application process. You must also contact your own insurer to notify them of the accident.
Before you submit a claim to the MIB, you need to have made a reasonable attempt to find out the identity or obtain the insurance details of the other road user. If, for example you were hit by a commercial vehicle that fled the scene, you should report the incident to the company.
If you were not injured but the vehicle was damaged, that you start a claim as soon as possible after the accident.
What if I was a passenger?
If you were the passenger in an accident, you may be able to claim compensation through your driver’s insurance policy.
However, if your driver was uninsured, you may only be able to claim through the MIB if you were unaware of this fact before the accident.
The MIB may also reject a passenger’s claim for compensation if the passenger knew their driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they entered the vehicle.
What if I was hit by a foreign vehicle?
UK citizens can claim compensation from the MIB if they are involved in an accident with a foreign-registered vehicle, whether the driver is insured or not. You can also claim through the MIB if you are injured while driving in the EU.
If post-Brexit arrangements remove this right, you may still be able to claim compensation from a foreign driver’s insurers. The process will likely be more complex and you may need to seek legal representation in the driver’s home country.
Submitting a claim to the MIB
You can submit a claim to the MIB via their website.
The MIB will obtain reports from the police and any witnesses, as well as your insurer and the DVLA, to establish how the accident occurred.
You will also need to grant permission to the MIB to access your medical records, and you may be asked to draw a diagram to help explain what happened.
How long will it take?
The MIB will try to give you a decision within three months. Less serious and lower value accident claims can often be processed sooner, some in around six weeks.
Will I receive compensation?
If the MIB finds that the other road user was to blame, you will be awarded compensation. The amount that you receive depends on the severity of your injuries and how much the injuries have affected your life.
You can find out how much you may be awarded by using an online damages calculator.
If you are found to be partly at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced. The MIB may decide there was ‘contributory negligence’, and reduce your damages according to the extent to which you were responsible.
For example, if the MIB found that you were 50% responsible for the accident because you were driving over the speed limit, your compensation would be reduced by 50%.
However, if the MIB finds that the accident was entirely or mostly your fault, you will not receive any compensation. Following the MIB’s decision, you have the right to appeal.
Will I need to instruct a solicitor?
You don’t need to involve a solicitor when submitting a claim to the MIB. The application process is straightforward and the online form will guide you through step by step.
Chris Salmon of Quittance Legal Services said, “Unless the claimant is a vulnerable client or is unable to complete the process themselves due to injury, the help of a solicitor usually isn’t required to claim through the MIB.”
“However, if you have had your MIB claim rejected and want to appeal, getting legal advice at that stage may help you build a stronger appeal.”
Thank you to Chris Salmon for this article.