Posted by Mark Hambleton, Partner
Uninsured and untraceable drivers hitting cyclists – are cases on the rise?
I have been asked by a few people recently whether they have any rights to bring a claim for their injuries, and subsequent financial losses, following collisions with hit-and-run drivers and uninsured drivers. The sad truth is, the number of hit-and-run accidents and the number of uninsured drivers on our roads seems to be increasing.
People aren’t always aware, but the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) compensates people who are injured as a result of the negligent driving of untraced (hit-and-run) drivers, as well as motorists who aren’t insured.
If an untraced or uninsured driver kills another road user, then the family of the deceased should take advice on lodging a claim with the MIB.
A specialist solicitor should therefore be your starting point. Following that initial conversation, you can make an informed decision about what to do next.
The number of claims with the MIB is rising
The MIB estimates it will pay out £256m this year. As a proportion of our insurance premiums go to the MIB, it is estimated that this sum adds about £15 to each insurance premium.
Perhaps the most striking statistic is that the number of claims against uninsured drivers submitted to the MIB has recently risen by 10%. At first glance this suggests that the number of injuries and deaths on our roads caused by hit-and-run drivers and uninsured drivers is on the rise.
If you think about it though, there are other factors which might be relevant to the increasing number of claims lodged with the MIB. For example, it could be down to the increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads and the possibility that there are generally more claims arising out of bad driving.
However, as this is the first time the number of claims being lodged with the MIB has risen for around 13 years, it seems more likely than not that there are more motorists driving without insurance or fleeing the scene of an accident.
What does this mean for cyclists?
For cyclists who are injured as a result of the negligent driving of uninsured or hit-and-run drivers, the method for recovering their out of pocket expenses and compensation is different to when an insured motorist stops at the scene (in such cases, the incident is reported to the relevant vehicle insurer in the first instance).
In the hit-and-run or uninsured cases described above, there is no private insurer to deal with the claim, so it falls to the injured party (usually their solicitor) to lodge their claim with the MIB. A claim against an untraced (hit-and-run) driver must be reported to the police and a crime reference number obtained, within 2 weeks of it happening.
In my experience the MIB are often slow to progress claims and cyclists are unlikely to have the benefit of funding for an assessment of their immediate needs. In hit-and-run cases, injured cyclists are not entitled to include property damage within their claim i.e. for damage to a bicycle, equipment or clothing.
Also, claims by the cyclist to recoup the pay received from their employer while they were off work, or to recoup their treatment costs paid by a private medical insurer, cannot be recovered. Such costs could be claimed if a private insurance company was involved.
I have a longstanding hit-and-run claim with the MIB. Once this is concluded, I will be able to summarise the MIB’s current approach to valuing compensation for injuries. My hope is that, in future, I can compare this with the damages achieved in similar cases where the motorist was insured.
If you've been hit by an uninsured driver, or been a victim of a hit-and-run, get in touch with our specialist team today
0800 923 2068 Email us