The problem was initially dealt with by the Government introducing compulsory insurance for all drivers, but there are situations where drivers are not insured or a driver or offender cannot be traced.
The aim of the English Judicial System is to put you in the position you would have been in had the situation not occurred, and the idea of the Bureau is to put in the same position as an innocent victim of an insured driver.
The MIB is obliged to compensate victims of consequential losses where the applicant is unable to trace the person responsible for the debt, injury and loss, or if there is more than one person responsible, is unable to trace one of those parties. Compensation will be paid if on the balance of probabilities the untraced person would be liable to pay damages to the applicant.
It is important to note the incident must be reported to the police within 14 days of the accident or as soon as you could reasonably report the matter (later for example if you are hospitalised), and you must also cooperate fully with the police.
An application form must be completed and provided to the MIB within three years of the date of the accident, otherwise the claim will not be accepted under the Untraced Drivers' Agreement.
No damages will be paid for property damage i.e. vehicle or personal effects under the terms of this agreement. Neither will the MIB make payments to employers for salaries paid whilst you were injured, even if a contract of employment provides for reimbursement.
Is it possible to pursue a road traffic accident claim via the police?
In Ancell v McDermott 1993 injuries were suffered when a vehicle skidded on spilled diesel.
Although the police knew about the diesel spill, they had not put up warning signs, as they were not liable to general road users, so no claim materialised.
Is it possible to pursue a claim against the local authority?
Under the Highways Act 1980 the Highways Authority is under a duty to maintain the highway, not to repair or keep the fabric of the road clear. So the authority is not under a general duty to ensure that any substance on the highway is not dangerous to traffic, making such a claim unlikely to succeed.
Go to the Bureau
It appears, therefore, that claims need to be made to the MIB. A form must be completed in accordance with the time limits, and having notified the matter to the police (as above), the Bureau will investigate the claim.
If you are able to prove that the fuel spill arose as a result of an untraced driver's negligence, the MIB will pay damages for any injuries caused. It follows that claims like this are more likely to be successful if you can show the diesel spill was a large one and not a gradual build up of fuel over a period of time.
For more information from our personal injury solicitors, please visit their page.
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