We can only estimate the number of people driving on UK roads without insurance but the Motor Insurers Bureau believes there are more than 1 million uninsured drivers in the UK. The issue has been further complicated by European freedom of movement regulations and confusion as to what kind of cover and license are required to drive in the UK. So, what can you do if you are injured by an uninsured driver or one who leaves the scene of an accident?
Motor Insurers Bureau
The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is a non-profit company which is funded by the insurance industry, offering financial assistance to those injured by uninsured drivers or those who left the scene of an accident. The MIB process more than 25,000 claims per year from those injured by uninsured drivers and, despite success tackling the problem in recent times, this is still a major problem. Indeed even though the police have now crushed more than 1.5 million uninsured vehicles it is still a constant battle.
The MIB has helped many cope with the aftermath of both minor and major accidents where the perpetrators were uninsured and often left the scene of the incident. Despite the majority of us being fully aware we need insurance to drive a vehicle, how many drivers/ passengers are aware of the MIB? The fact this is an industry funded system which is available to all insured drivers who are the victim of an accident caused by uninsured drivers needs to be promoted. At the moment, anyone involved in an accident with an uninsured driver would probably assume they had no recourse to claim any kind of compensation, but this assumption is incorrect.
Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers
There is an interesting article in the Daily Mirror which covers the subject of uninsured drivers. The newspaper quotes figures suggesting you are about 100 times more likely to be hit by an uninsured driver in the UK as you are in Germany. When you bear in mind that potentially one in 36 drivers are uninsured in the UK this does not compare favourably to Germany where it is one in 500 and Sweden where it is one in 1000. This begs the question, why is uninsured driving such a major problem in the UK?
The MIB works very closely with police forces across the country as it also manages the Motor Insurance Database (MID) which holds the details of around 37 million vehicles in the UK. New technology has certainly given insurance companies and regulators greater powers to trace perpetrators but it can still prove difficult. When you bear in mind there are an alleged one million-plus drivers on UK roads without the correct insurance this is a long-term battle for the police.
What Can You Claim From The MIB?
In simple terms the MIB acts as a fall-back insurer for those insured drivers involved in accidents caused by uninsured drivers. So, in theory you’re able to claim personal injury compensation for any kind of accident where there is an injury and/or associated medical costs, loss of earnings, etc. However, because of the circumstances surrounding any claims made to the MIB it can sometimes be a little more difficult to prove your claim. We can help with that of course.
Proving Your Case
The fact the vast majority of uninsured drivers leave the scene of an accident can make it difficult to prove a claim beyond reasonable doubt. In normal circumstances, where both parties are insured, they would report the incident to the police, exchange insurance details and the matter would be processed accordingly. The same guidelines still apply to MIB claims but they are even more important if the perpetrator has left the scene of the crime.
The first thing you should do in the event of an accident, whether with an insured driver or an uninsured driver, is to take a note of their number plate. While we appreciate that not everybody is thinking clearly in the aftermath of an accident, the majority of us have mobile phones which can be used to take helpful photographs for evidence.
You should also take the names and addresses of all possible witnesses to the incident – you have five days to report this to the police if there is damage to property and 14 days in the event of an injury. However, the majority of victims would more than likely report this immediately to the police so that everything is as clear and as fresh in their mind as possible. Next you need to get examined by a doctor to confirm the extent of any injuries caused by, or, as a consequence of the accident. As we mentioned above, this is no different to the advice given when tackling a “normal” personal injury claim.
As cases involving the MIB can be a little more difficult to prove and potentially more complicated it is advisable to take professional advice from legal experts such as ours at Claims Action. We are fully aware of the intricacies surrounding the MIB and personal injury compensation against an uninsured driver whether indeed they were traced or vanished into the night. Even though the MIB offers a vital service for those involved in road accidents there does need to be tough vetting of cases to minimise the potential for fraud.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
The penalties for driving without insurance have been tightened over the last few years amid concerns about the growing problem of accidents involving uninsured drivers. At this moment in time those driving with no insurance face the seizure of their vehicle, six points on their driving licence and a £300 fixed penalty fine. Registered keepers who failed to advise the DVLA that their vehicle is off the road must still have insurance. Penalties for this crime include a fixed penalty of £100, clamping, seizure and potential destruction of the vehicle not to mention prosecution through the courts and a possible fine of £1000. The main problem is that even these heavy penalties are still not making the criminal fraternity think again.
These penalties should go hand-in-hand with further education of the UK driving community and perhaps a little more focus on foreign drivers maybe not up-to-date with UK vehicle insurance regulations. We have the Internet and the MIB has contact details for all owners of vehicles in the UK so there is really no excuse for not being able to contact registered owners directly, making them aware of potential issues going forward.
A large number of people reading this article will be unaware of the MIB and the very important role the organisation plays in the UK car insurance market. While the non-profit organisation is funded by the insurance industry it is ultimately insurance customers who pay the bill. So, why is it that so many people who could and should have made use of MIB services fail to do so?
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and you suffer an injury due to no fault of your own, it is vital that you take legal advice. Even where you might assume you have no cover, an MIB claim can be put forward on your behalf as you would with a normal insurance claim. We can only guess the number of people involved in such incidents who walked away assuming they had no recourse for personal injury compensation. So, while educating the wider driving public about the legal requirement for vehicle insurance perhaps it is time to educate the wider driving public about the services offered by MIB?