Being hit by an uninsured driver is a risk absolutely anyone taking to the roads assumes. And it would be very easy to think that there's nothing you can do in such cases, but our resident legal eagle, Andrew Bird of Bicycle Legal has news for you.
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Cyclists injured while cycling may be able to claim compensation in certain circumstances. These circumstances will usually be that someone else has caused them injury through negligence or breach of statutory duty.
For incidents involving vehicles, the claim will normally be based on an allegation that the standard of driving on the part of another was so bad as to be negligent. Where the loss has been caused by a defect in the road, such as a pothole, the argument will usually be that the relevant highways authority, normally the local council, have breached their duty to take reasonable steps to properly maintain the highway.
When dealing with an insured driver or council, cyclists can proceed confident that if their claim succeeds, there will be money to settle their claim. However, what do you do where the driver is not insured or the responsible party is unknown?
Where the driver is uninsured but the vehicle they were driving was, then in practice the claim will be dealt with by the vehicle’s insurance company. The situation of a driver not being insured to drive a vehicle which is insured could arise, for example, where the vehicle is taken without consent.
More of a problem is where neither the responsible driver nor vehicle is insured. In theory, a claim could be brought against the driver but getting money out of the sort of person who drives around without insurance may be like getting blood out of a stone. Fortunately, the insurance companies fund an ‘insurer of last resort’ called the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) who cover injuries caused by drivers where there is no insurance company to pay the claim.
The MIB can also cover claims where the responsible party cannot be traced. This would cover situations such as hit and run incidents, where the driver makes off from the scene and cannot be identified. However, it can also cover less obvious situations. One example could be a diesel spill on the road caused by overfilling a diesel tank. Another might be an object thrown at a cyclist by the passenger of a car, where it can be shown that the driver was colluding with the passenger.
The MIB has technical requirements which must be met before meeting a claim, so a cyclist would be well advised to get legal advice if they are dealing with an untraced or uninsured driver. However, probably the key one to be aware of is the normal requirement to report the incident to the police within five days of it happening for a property damage claim and 14 days for an injury claim. Click here for more.