Road traffic accidents, especially those which culminate in personal injury, can be stressful at the best of times.
Even after medical care has been given, there is still the issue making an insurance claim and possibly a car accident compensation claim in the event that a person receives lasting damage from injuries like whiplash.
But what do you do if the driver who hit you is either uninsured or untraceable?
Statistically, uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents and ignore safety signs, leading to an increased risk of personal injury.
Can I make a compensation claim if the driver was uninsured?
Just because a driver is uninsured, it does not mean that the victim of a road traffic accident should not be able to make the compensation claim they may deserve.
A joint programme between the government and the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) has led to the creation of the Uninsured Drivers Fund and the Untraced Drivers Fund.
These allow the MIB to issue compensation claims to those who have suffered personal injury or damage to property if the other party in the accident did not have insurance.
It also provides funds in the event that the vehicle was identified but cannot be traced. However, the rules relating to untraceable drivers do differ, as a cap of £300 will be placed on the price of any property damaged and the accident must be reported to the police, or as soon as reasonably possible.
As with most compensation agreements, limitations do apply and these can be found out about through the MIB or some specialist accident lawyers.
Making a claim under the Uninsured Drivers Agreement
Before any road traffic accident victim contacts the MIB about making an uninsured drivers claim certain steps should be taken.
Firstly, it is essential to ensure that the other vehicle was not insured. This should be done by contacting the motorist if possible or by getting in touch with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
A formal complaint should then be made to the police, as it is an offence for a person to fail to supply their insurance details.
As with any claim, as much evidence of the road traffic accident should be collected and your car insurance provider should be contacted. Legal expenses could also be an issue if you are enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer who does not work on a no win, no fee basis.
Finally, once all the criteria has been satisfied, a claim can be made using the MIB website, which can either be printed off and posted or completed online.
Making a claim under the Untraced Drivers Agreement
The Untraced Drivers Agreement first came into force in 1977, although amendments to the regulations have been made as recently as 2003.
Any incident involving personal injury should be reported to the police, even if it was not possible to identify the driver, as they may be able to through other lines of enquiry.
Once it has been established that the motorist is indeed untraceable, a claims form should be submitted to the MIB, which must be done no more than three years after the accident in the event of a personal injury claim.
The MIB will then research the claim, which is likely to take some time as liability has to be established, and the police may be involved in a lengthy investigation. At this point in time a road traffic accident victim may look to enlist the help of an accident lawyer.