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 .

Claims against uninsured drivers: The Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement 1999

 Under S143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, all road users are required to have third party insurance indemnifying them against claims by persons injured or suffering accidental damage caused by their negligence. Using an uninsured vehicle on a road is an offence under the Act. Accordingly, most defendant drivers will have motor insurance that will indemnify them against any personal liability for your claim.

Section 154 of the Act, obliges a driver involved in an accident to provide details of his motor insurers and his insurance policy number. It is an offence under the Act to fail or refuse to provide this information. Accordingly, in most cases where the Act is complied with an innocent claimant will usually be confident of recovering a compensation award from the opponent’s motor insurers.

Unfortunately, a growing number of people now drive without any insurance and many of these individuals also have limited financial means. In such a case, pursuing a civil claim against the uninsured driver would probably be pointless. Fortunately, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (hereafter called ‘the Bureau’) has been instituted to address the predicament faced by innocent victims who would otherwise be unable to recover their compensation awards from these impecunious uninsured 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 compensate victims of uninsured and untraced drivers provided certain strict criteria are met. The Bureau does not replace the normal procedure for pursuing a claim against an opponent; it supplements it. Accordingly it is necessary to pursue the claim against an uninsured driver in much the same way as if there was a motor insurer involved but with the difference that there are additional important procedural hurdles for the Claimant to overcome.

The Bureau’s obligation towards victims of uninsured drivers (as distinct from victims of hit and run drivers who are untraced) is governed by a series of agreements culminating with the Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement 1999 between the Bureau (on behalf of the insurance industry) and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (hereafter called ‘the Agreement’). The agreement governs accidents involving uninsured drivers on or after 1 October 1999.

Under Clause 5 of the Agreement the Bureau must pay a claimant any unsatisfied judgment against an uninsured driver.

Not every accident involving an uninsured motorist is covered by the Agreement; so not every unsatisfied claim against an uninsured driver will be met by the Bureau. For example, a motor accident in a private cul-de-sac with restricted access denied to ordinary members of the public (where compulsory motor insurance does not apply) would be unlikely to be deemed to fall within the definition of a ‘relevant liability’.

Furthermore, the Agreement exempts the Bureau from having to meet certain claims: such as your own insurers’ outlay; the first £300 of any property damage claim ; accident damage to your own vehicle if you had not insured it and it also excludes liability where at the time of your accident you were involved in or had knowledge of certain criminal acts involving the vehicle in which you were a passenger. There is also a £250,000 cap on property damage claims, as distinct from personal injury claims. If you are entitled to a separate compensation payment for your injury or loss (eg from an insurance policy) then you must disclose this fact to the Bureau who will take the payment into account when paying the unsatisfied judgment; this could extinguish your entitlement depending of course upon the value of your claim. We will be able to advise you whether you are eligible to claim under the Agreement.

Although most accident claims involving an identified but uninsured driver will fall within the ambit of the Agreement, certain procedural steps are insisted upon as conditions precedent to liability under the agreement. In other words, strict compliance with the protocols set out in the Agreement is essential if the preconditions for liability are to be met.

There follows a brief summary of some of the main procedural conditions precedent set by the Bureau. Failure to comply with any of these conditions will expose you to the risk that the Bureau will refuse to compensate you.

Before commencing proceedings against the uninsured driver:

  • 1.
    You must, as soon as reasonably practicable:
    • (a)
      demand the insurance details specified in s 154(1) from the defendant driver; and
    • (b)
      upon the driver failing to comply:
      • make a formal complaint to the police;
      • use all reasonable endeavours to obtain the name and address of the registered keeper of the vehicle or authorise the Bureau to take such steps on your behalf.
  • 2.
    You must also make a formal application to the Bureau, using the requisite application form supplied by us.
  • 3.
    You have a continuing obligation to co-operate with the Bureau by providing such documents and information as the Bureau may reasonably require.
  • 4.
    If your claim is settled by the Bureau (whether or not proceedings are or have become necessary), you must first agree to assign your rights of action against the uninsured driver in favour of the Bureau, once requested to do so.

After commencing proceedings against the uninsured driver you must:

  • 1.
    Within 14 days after commencement give written notice to the Bureau (and any insurer concerned for the Defendant’s vehicle) of this fact and at the same time supply copies of the Claim Form (duly sealed by the Court Office) or other document officially proving that proceedings have been issued.
  • 2.
    Within the same period, you must also serve copies of:
    • all correspondence with the Defendant or his representatives or insurers;
    • any contract of insurance that entitles you to receive benefits in the case of death, bodily injury or damage to property to which the proceedings relate;
    • your Particulars of Claim (the court document setting out the facts and issues that you rely upon to prove your claim);
    • any other documents that you are required by the Rules of Court to serve on the Defendant when serving the proceedings, such as your schedule of loss and any medical reports;
    • such other information about your claim as the Bureau have previously reasonably specified.
  • 3.
    Thereafter, the Bureau will be exempted from any liability to pay an unsatisfied judgment in your favour if you fail to give written notice within seven days of one or other of the following events:
    • Service of the proceedings on the Defendant; unless no notification form is received from the Defendant or the Court, then within 14 days of the date service is deemed to have been served.
    • Filing of a defence.
    • Any amendment to the Particulars of Claim or schedule or document served with the originating process.
    • When the case is set down for trial or when the court gives notice of a trial date.
  • 4.
    The Bureau will also be exempted from any liability if you fail to give 35 days’ prior written notice of intention to apply for judgment.
  • 5.
    You must agree to the Bureau being joined as an interested intervening party to your action or to any other person who might also be liable for the accident being joined, if reasonably requested by the Bureau. However, you are entitled to insist on the Bureau giving you full indemnity to the costs for adding the additional defendant(s).
  • 6.
    You must agree to assign your rights in any unsatisfied judgment against the uninsured driver to the Bureau, including any order for costs in your favour, and undertake to repay the judgment to the Bureau if the judgment is subsequently set aside.

It will be readily appreciated from the above that special care is needed when pursuing a claim against an uninsured driver. You are expected to demand the full insurance details from the Defendant driver and to make a complaint to the police if this is not forthcoming. You should co-operate with the Bureau by completing their official application form and by keeping them informed of developments, or you risk losing any entitlement to compensation if the Defendant turns out to be uninsured and/or unable to pay your compensation. It is therefore particularly important in these cases that you should seek the early advice of a solicitor who will guide you through the complicated procedures.

Claims against untraced or hit and run drivers are excluded from this agreement. A separate application should be made to the Bureau direct under the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement. Compensation under that agreement is limited to personal injury and consequential loss only. 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.

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