It is mandatory that drivers of cars on Scottish public roads hold valid insurance and stop at the scene of an accident. Due to the nature of “hit and run” accidents it is very difficult to identify the driver responsible. Research into this issue was commissioned by the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) and in 2016 the results were:
- 45% of “hit and run” drivers would not have left the scene of the accident if they had known that by doing so they were committing an offence;
- Younger drivers (aged 17-34) are more likely to leave the scene of an accident because they are uninsured, have been drinking, are scared of the consequences, or panic; and
- Older drivers (over 34) are more likely to leave the scene of an accident if they don’t think the accident is serious enough to report.
There are serious consequences for drivers who leave the scene of an accident and often their victims and families suffer potentially long term physical and emotional impacts which can have significant financial implications.
What happens when you and/or your car is hit by an untraced driver?
It is possible for the MIB to deal with a claim even if the driver of the other vehicle is untraced. However you need to have reported the incident to the policy within five days of the accident (for damage only claims) and within 14 days if you were injured. You should also make enquiries to see if you can identify the driver. Check details of the accident with the police and, if any information is available, try making contact with the other driver if that is appropriate.
If you cannot identify the driver, try to identify the vehicle involved through any registration number you have been given. To make a claim for property damage you must be able to identify the vehicle that caused the accident.
The public play an important role in tracing “hit and run” drivers. The MIB commissioned research showed that in a survey of drivers who had been convicted of “hit and run” offences, over 50% of these drivers were traced through pedestrians and other drivers who witnessed the accident.
You should also contact your own insurance company. The law requires all innocent victims of accidents to mitigate their loss. This means that victims must do what they reasonably can to minimise the loss they incur.
What is the Motor Insurance Bureau?
The Motor Insurance Bureau is an organisation that was set up to ensure that those injured by uninsured or untraced drivers are able to be compensated for their losses. This means that the MIB can help people who are involved in road traffic accidents where the normal routes of compensation might not exist or be difficult to trace.
What are the Untraced Drivers’ Agreements?
The MIB has an agreement for each of the countries it operates within. There have been various agreements and which one applies will depend on the date when the accident occurred. The most recent agreement for England, Scotland and Wales applies to accidents on or after 14 February 2003. This agreement sets out the process for making a claim against a driver who is untraced.
It is important when you are making a claim against a driver who is untraced that a specialist firm of solicitors are instructed who have experienced of dealing with road traffic accidents involving untraced drivers.
Our client – the injured victim of an untraced driver
Our specialist Personal Injury Motor Accident team represented a lady whose vehicle was struck by a stolen car. The driver of the stolen car disregarded a red light and when the accident happened, three males ran out of the stolen vehicle and fled the accident scene.
Our client’s car was written off due to the severity of the collision and our client required to be cut out of the wreckage of her car. The driver of the other car was travelling at approximately 50mph when the collision happened and our client was badly injured.
What injuries and losses did our client suffer?
Our client suffered multiple physical injuries including:
- Facial injuries including lacerations to her forehead and facial swelling;
- Soft tissue injury to her left shoulder;
- Soft tissue injury to her chest caused by the seatbelt;
- A fracture to her lower back;
- Abrasions to her left shin; and
- A broken right ankle.
After being cut out of her car, our client was taken by ambulance to hospital. Multiple x-rays were taken of her neck, pelvis, chest, lumbar spine and right ankle and confirmed a superior endplate fracture to her vertebra and a fracture of her right ankle.
She had bruising over the left hand side of her chest wall and required an operation to her ankle where screws and wires were inserted. She had to stay in hospital for four days, wear a below knee cast for eight weeks and use a combination of crutches and a Zimmer for five months. She also had to attend physiotherapy, including gym work, for a further six months.
Our client was affected by the accident psychologically and was assessed by a psychiatrist. It is important when a client is suffering psychologically that an appropriate assessment is carried out – this should result in recommendations of treatment that are tailored to the individual client.
The psychiatrist confirmed that our client suffered a phobic anxiety of travel as a result of her involvement in the road traffic accident. Our Road Accident Personal Injury team arranged for our client to get assistance for her psychological injury and it was recommended she attend for sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to assist her recovery.
Our client required help from her mother and brother for a period of five months following the accident to assist her with personal and household tasks.
Our client suffered long-term effects in relation to her injuries including loss of enjoyment of hobbies. She was left with permanent scarring to her right ankle and skin denting over her left shoulder. She was off work for a period of three-and-a-half months and did not return to her full duties for seven months.
How did the claim progress?
Details of our clients’ losses were intimated to the Motor Insurance Bureau which is obligated to handle claims in accordance with The Untraced Drivers’ Agreements.
Our specialist Personal Injury team supplied information to the Motor Insurance Bureau and were able to adhere to stringent requirements of the Untraced Drivers’ Agreements in order to successfully recover a substantial sum for compensation for our client.
What losses was the client able to recover from the MIB?
We intimated a statement of the valuation of our client’s claim and were able to negotiate a settlement for losses suffered by our client including
- Personal Injury;
- Loss of use of vehicle;
- Treatment cost; and
Our team achieved a settlement of compensation for this client of double the original offer made by the MIB. This increased offer resulted from the experience with which our Personal Injury team were able to negotiate and the evidence supplied in support of our client’s case.
What did our Personal Injury specialist team do for this client?
Our Road Traffic Personal Injury team are experienced in representing motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who are injured in road traffic accidents with untraced drivers. We have extensive experience of representing people and claiming compensation through the Motor Insurance Bureau.
Feedback from our client
The client was pleased with our team’s representation of her and commented: “I would like to thank you for all your hard work in bringing this claim to a positive conclusion. I am delighted with the result.”
Contact our personal injury solicitors
If you’ve been involved in an accident where the untraced driver or car is an issues, our specialists will give first class legal representation and support.
Our solicitors can help you secure the justice and compensation you deserve. Get in touch now for a free chat about your claim.
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