If your accident has been caused by someone who has driven off, or has given false details and is not traceable, or is uninsured, you can still claim. Your claim will be dealt with by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The M.I.B. is a body set up to provide a central fund for compensation of victims of accidents involving either uninsured or untraced drivers.
However, the way in which your claim is dealt with (and what you can claim for) is different in each case.
To make a claim through the MIB you must report the incident to the police. Your claim may be rejected by the MIB if you don’t. The time in which you must do this can be as little as 5 days in some cases, but at most is 14 days. We therefore recommend that you report it immediately. You should insist on it being formally logged, even if the police try to tell you it doesn’t need to be.
You should ensure that the incident is reported to the police as soon as possible after it happens, and at the latest within 14 days. We always advise that any incidents are reported, even if you think the driver is insured, as there are circumstances when the insurer may not be liable to pay the claim. You should also ask your opponent for details of their insurance policy, even though it may turn out that they do not have any insurance.
The claim will be dealt with in almost exactly the same way as if you were claiming against another driver who is insured, although the negotiations will be with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau rather than an insurance company. The only real differences are:
- The MIB may try to avoid or to limit what they will pay to you for some of your losses. Our job is to make sure that you are properly compensated.
- It will inevitably take longer to settle than if the other driver were insured. The time limits allowed to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau are longer than in normal claims.
If your claim is successful, then our fees (your legal costs) in acting for you are paid by the MIB in addition to your compensation.
For accidents occurring before 1st March 2017
You must ensure that you report the accident to the police as soon as possible. The maximum time limit for doing this ranges from 5 days up to 14 days from the date of the accident. YOU MUST OBTAIN A WRITTEN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FROM THE POLICE WITH A CRIME/INCIDENT REFERENCE NUMER, OR THE MIB CAN REFUSE TO DEAL WITH YOUR CLAIM.
You will be able to claim for your injuries and other losses. You can also claim for property damage, but only if the vehicle involved can be identified - e.g. the vehicle is stolen and you have its details, but the driver has absconded or has given a false name. In these cases, you must report the accident to the police no later than 5 days after the incident, if you want to claim for damaged property, or no later than 14 days, if you are claiming for injuries only.
Your claim will inevitably take longer to settle than if we were dealing with another driver’s insurance company. The M.I.B. are required to investigate a person’s claim and arrange any medical reports upon a person’s injuries. As such, they can take a long time to deal with claims. As there is no one to issue court proceedings against, there is no pressure which we can bring to bear to speed up the handling of your claim.
The other important difference is legal fees. The M.I.B. will only pay a contribution towards legal fees of a minimum £500.00 + VAT, up to a maximum of £3,000.00 + VAT depending upon the value of the final award. The contribution is paid towards the cost of the legal advice which we give to you, assisting you with the initial application to the MIB and then advising upon any offers of settlement which the M.I.B. might make. This means that some of our fees for carrying out the work for you may have to be deducted from your compensation. We will agree these costs with you beforehand.
As we charge for our work by the amount of time we spend on your file, we try to keep the amount of work done to the minimum. It is helpful if you do not telephone for ‘updates’ but respond promptly when we write to you for information. This is in your interest as it reduces the amount of fees which could be deducted from your compensation. We will still keep you advised of progress on your claim and will regularly chase the M.I.B. for progress. However, if there are any complications with your claim, if you have serious injuries, or if you decide not to take advice that we give regarding settlement and this leads to additional work/explanations being required, the amount of work required will inevitably be greater.
We will still deal with your claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ (conditional fee agreement) basis (similar to the usual arrangement as explained in the leaflet ‘Conditional Fees – what are they and how do they work’), but we will not charge any success fee in relation to your claim. However, any disbursements will have to be payable by you if we do not succeed. We will contact you before we incur those disbursements to obtain your agreement.
For accidents occurring on or after 1st March 2017
These claims are governed by a new set of rules.
The main differences are that:
Compensation for death or injury caused by an act of terrorism (caused by an untraced driver) is no longer excluded.
The scope of claims now extends to collisions with a trailer being towed by the untraced driver.
The MIB will not make a payment for damage to property unless there has been an award has been paid (by the MIB) to the Claimant for “significant personal injury” (which involves 2 nights or more of in-patient treatment in hospital; or 3 sessions or more of out-patient treatment, such as physiotherapy; or death); and the property damage cost exceeds the specified “excess” figure of £400.00, currently.
The Claimant must have report the accident to the police “as soon as reasonably practicable” if asked to do so by the MIB. In practice it is always advisable to report an accident to the police as soon as possible.
The other important difference is legal fees. The M.I.B. will only pay a contribution towards legal fees of a minimum £450.00 + VAT for claims where compensation awarded is up to £10,000.00; £700.00 + VAT for awards up to £25,000.00. There is a scale of increased costs contributions for higher value settlements, depending upon the value of award made.
The contribution is paid towards the cost of the legal advice which we give to you in assisting you with the initial application and then advising upon any offers of settlement which the M.I.B. might make. This means that some of our fees for carrying out the work for you may have to be deducted from your compensation. We will agree these costs with you.