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Road Traffic Accidents: No Name, No Claim?

A Claimant has recently encountered difficulties pursuing a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) Claim through the Courts even though she had the registration number, insurer and registered keeper of the car.

The Supreme Court advised that instead of doing so, as she didn’t know the identity of the driver at the time of the accident, she should have claimed via the Motor Insurers (MIB) Untraced Drivers Agreement.

The Case

In Bianca Cameron v Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited [2019] UKSC 6, the Claimant (Ms Cameron) was injured in an accident and also suffered financial losses. Whilst the other driver didn’t stop after the collision, the make, model and registration number were noted.

The registered keeper, a Mr Naveed Hussain, said he wasn’t driving at the time of the accident and he was later convicted of failing to disclose the driver’s details.

Liverpool Victoria (LV) were found to be the insurers of the car, although their policyholder, a Mr Nissar Bahadur, was believed to be a fictitious person.

The Claimant initially pursued their case against Mr Hussain, then added LV as 2nd Defendant, suggesting they would have to settle any Judgment obtained against him. LV contested this, saying under the terms of the Road Traffic Act (1988) they would only have to pay if the driver was identified.

The Claimant then applied to the Court to amend the proceedings to replace Mr Hussain with “… the person unknown, driving vehicle registration…” which wasn’t allowed at first, but the Court of Appeal permitted it saying: “an unknown person can be sued whenever justice required it”.

However, LV successfully appealed this to the Supreme Court, where the Judges agreed with LV’s assertions that the Claimant shouldn’t have pursued her claim against them as their RTA obligations don’t extend to paying claims where the driver isn’t identified.

Instead of the action she took, the Judges suggested that the Claimant should have claimed through the MIB, which was established in 1946 to pay compensation to innocent victims of uninsured and untraced drivers.

The MIB is funded by insurers, who in turn make a charge to all insured motorists via their insurance premiums. According to the their own statistics, they handle more than 20,000 claims involving uninsured and untraced drivers per year and in 2018 over 130,000 uninsured vehicles were seized by UK police forces.

 

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Nathan Clay

Associate Solicitor
Personal Injury
NClay@LawBlacks.com
0113 227 9355
@NathanLawBlacks
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NAthan Clay Blacks Solicitors LLP