Derby Accident Claims Solicitors

McIntosh Fleming Lawyers, specialise in no win, no fee accident claims, and we guarantee that you keep all of your compensation without any deduction for our charges. Get in touch with Derby Accident Claims Solicitors by e-mailing gary.dickie@btinternet.com , or ring us on 01332 518135 .

Hit & Run Drivers: The Untraced Drivers Agreement

An increasing number of drivers simply fail to stop after involvement in an accident, leaving the scene before they can be traced. Others give false particulars, especially if they are driving a stolen vehicle. Furthermore, a growing number of people drive without any insurance (which is an offence under S143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988) and since many of these individuals have limited personal financial resources they are unlikely to stop if they can get away.

Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires a driver to stop when involved in a road accident resulting in injury to someone else or damage to his or her vehicle. That driver must also give details of his name, address and vehicle registration number, if requested on reasonable grounds; otherwise he or she should report the accident to the police. Failure to do so is an offence.

Clearly, if a driver fails to stop these particulars cannot be ascertained and no civil claim can be brought. This presents an obvious predicament for road users who have suffered injury or other loss or damage as a result of a hit and run or untraced driver.

Pursuing a civil claim against a hit and run or untraced driver is not possible, because there is no identifiable defendant. Fortunately, it is possible to apply for compensation from the Motor Insurers Bureau under the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 1996.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau

The Motor Insurers Bureau [hereafter called ‘the Bureau’] has been instituted to deal with the predicament faced by innocent victims who would otherwise be unable to recover their compensation awards from untraced drivers.

The Bureau is managed collectively by the major insurance companies who each participate in the dealing with a proportionate share of such claims. Its primary function is to act as a safety net and to compensate victims of uninsured and untraced drivers provided certain strict criteria are met. In the case of an untraced driver claim the Bureau replaces the normal procedure for pursuing a claim against an opponent through the civil courts; it has created a new claims procedure of its own.

It is necessary to apply to the Bureau, and there are important procedural hurdles for the claimant to overcome before a claim can succeed.

The Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 1996

This Agreement applies to all accidents occurring after 1 July 1996 but before 14 February 2003.

The Agreement provides a procedure for claiming compensation from the Bureau for death or personal injury sustained as a result of an accident involving an untraced driver. A deliberate running down case would be outside the scope of the agreement; where an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is appropriate.

Claims for vehicle damage or other property damage do not fall within the ambit of the 1996 agreement. This agreement is limited to compensation for death or injury; lost earnings and other losses flowing from the injury are also claimable.

Only a token payment of £150 towards solicitor’s costs is payable under this agreement. The Bureau currently refuses to pay any interest on the award; these issues are currently the subject of a referral to the European Court of Justice.

The application must be made within three years of the accident. However, there has been some dispute as to whether this limitation could bar an injured child from recovering compensation until within three years of attaining majority. Guidance should be sought from the Bureau if in doubt.

Once you have made your application, you will probably be contacted by an agent from the Bureau, who will interview you and investigate your claim. You have a duty under the agreement to co operate with the Bureau and its agents.

If your claim is rejected you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal will be dealt with by an arbitrator in the first instance. Notice of any appeal against a decision must be made in writing to the Bureau within six weeks.

There are a number of exceptions that seek to exclude claimants who were involved in or had knowledge of some crime associated with the use of the vehicle responsible for the death or injury.

The basis of the award is intended to reflect the sort of award that a claimant could expect to recover in a normal civil claim pursued through the courts.

Immediately after the accident:

If you suspect that the driver or one of the drivers responsible for your injury may have given false particulars or be untraced then you must act promptly to preserve your right to claim compensation.

Under Clause 1 of the 1996 Agreement the accident must be reported to the police within 14 days or as soon as the applicant reasonably can. Furthermore, you must also co-operate with the police in any subsequent enquiries. If you fail to do so then you will have failed to satisfy a vital condition precedent and your claim will probably be rejected by the Bureau.

If a hit and run driver is eventually traced and or prosecuted then the 1996 Agreement will no longer apply. Any existing application under the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement will usually be allowed to stand as a claim under the Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement. In cases of doubt, it would be prudent to ask the Bureau to accept the application as registered under both the Uninsured and Untraced Drivers’ Agreements.

Claims against uninsured drivers are not covered by this agreement. A separate application should be made to the Bureau direct under the Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement 1999. Compensation under that agreement covers personal injury and property damage. Where there is any doubt as to whether the Defendant is untraced or not, it would be wise to make an application under both agreements.

The Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 2003

This Agreement applies to all accidents occurring after 14 February 2003.

Immediately after the accident

Before you can qualify for compensation under this scheme you must be able to produce evidence to show that you reported the accident to the police within the following timescales:

Property damage: 5 days

Injury: 14 days

or as soon as reasonably practicable in either case.

The right to claim compensation under this scheme is hedged with qualifications and pre conditions, which if not met will disqualify you from recovering any compensation. Some further examples are:

For property damage claims: various limitations

  • There is a nine-month limitation period for making an application but with two-year extension provided that the application is made as soon as practicable.
  • Property damage is not recoverable where other vehicle untraced.
  • The MIB currently apply a £300 excess and £25,000 limit on such claims, but this is presently being challenged as it infringes the 5th EU Motor Insurance Directive.
  • Deduction of certain insurance payments.
  • It is not possible to recover your insurers’ outlay.

For claims for death or injury

  • Here, a more reasonable three-year limitation period applies for presenting the application but with a 15-year extension provided it is presented as soon as practicable after the Claimant became or ought reasonably to have become aware of the existence of bodily injury.
  • If a separate application for property damage is made, the Bureau will evade liability if the injury claim is not applied for within the relevant period. Notice for one is insufficient for the other.

The Bureau will make a slightly more generous contribution towards your costs under the 2003 Agreement.

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