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Welcome Developments in Road Traffic Accident Claims (19 July 2019)

Date: 19/07/2019
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Welcome Developments in Road Traffic Accident Claims

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau is legally obligated to pay compensation to Claimants who have suffered an injury as a result of a road traffic accident, provided that negligence can be proven against the uninsured driver. This is to make sure that Claimants can still receive compensation for their injury even if the vehicle has no insurance. That said, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau has benefited from a number of loop holes for a number of years and in some cases, has failed to make payments leaving Claimants without a remedy.

One of these loop holes was closed in the recent case of Lewis v Tinsdale 2018. Mr Lewis suffered a spinal cord injury which left him tetraplegic, together with brain damage. As such he will be unable to return to work and has a lifetime dependence on others for care. He was hit by an uninsured vehicle driven by Mr Tinsdale on marshy land in the vicinity of a farm. Mr Lewis brought a claim for compensation against Mr Tinsdale. As Mr Tinsdale was not insured and had no assets, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau joined as a second Defendant. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau refused to pay compensation to Mr Lewis because, among other reasons, the accident occurred on private land. The matter of Motor Insurers’ Bureau v Lewis 2019 reached the Court of Appeal where the judge concluded that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau could no longer rely on this defence and must pay compensation to the Claimant.

This case highlights the fact that prior to 2018, the UK government failed to fulfil its obligation under Article 3 of the 2009 Motor Insurance Directive (2009/103/EC) to ensure that liability in respect of motor vehicles is covered by compulsory insurance.

It is worth looking at the history of cars on British roads to understand the role of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. In the 1920s there were concerns about the number of cars and the number of injuries that resulted from car accidents. It is unlikely anyone could have predicted the huge increase in car ownership or the increased number of accidents and injuries that would flow from this. That said the need to protect innocent victims led to the Road Traffic Act 1930, which made motor insurance compulsory. If you were unlucky enough to be injured by an untraced or uninsured driver you could not bring an action for compensation were the driver had no means. It was not until after the Second World War that this issue was addressed with the establishment of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

At Duncan Lewis we take on uninsured driver matters under a Conditional Fee Agreement. Conditional Fee Agreements are also known as “No Win – No Fee” agreements. The time limit for bringing a claim is usually three years from the date of the accident. Special rules apply to children or claimants without capacity. If a claim is not brought within the required time limit it is likely to be statute barred. Claims of £25,000 or less start in the Ministry of Justice Portal. Thereafter steps are taken to collect medical records and obtain expert medical evidence. Claimants can bring a claim for general damages which is a claim for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” and special damages which is a claim for all the losses and expenses they have incurred as a result of an accident. This might include, for example, a claim for lost earnings or physiotherapy.

Author of this article, Personal Injury Director Julie Leslie, specialises across all types of Claimant personal injury work, including cases on Road Traffic Accidents. She has significant experience of running cases from start through to trial and her caseload varies from representing claimants with straightforward injuries, to those where claimants have suffered life changing accidents.

Contact Julie directly on 020 7275 2847 or email juliel@duncanlewis.com

Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors

Our personal injury team have extensive experience representing clients who have sustained injuries as a result of faulty products, or accidents at work, in the home or in a public place. It is the team’s tenacity which has got the department recognised in the Legal 500 2019 edition, which praises "[t]he 'highly competent, hardworking and continually improving' personal injury department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors [that] 'makes clients feel at ease' and 'fights hard for them', applying 'great tactical astuteness'.

Personal injury claimants usually have three years from the date of the injury to make a claim for compensation. Because of the limitation period for personal injury claims, it is important to seek legal advice from Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors as soon as possible.

Family members can call Duncan Lewis for advice on making a claim if someone close to them has been injured and is still recovering in hospital.

For expert legal advice call one of our experienced Personal Injury solicitors on 0333 772 0409.

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