Hard working biker's victory over uninsured driver

The Motor Insurers Bureau ("MIB") is a body set up by the Government and the insurance industry to compensate the victims of untraced and uninsured drivers who would otherwise go uncompensated. This good basic aim sometimes gets lost.

Such was the potential for a White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors client in a case heard at the West London County Court in October 2007. The matter has not been reported previously due to it's significance and the fact that they were waiting until the MIB could no longer appeal.

In this case, an uninsured driver (in one of an estimated one million uninsured cars on UK roads) pulled out in front of the biker, a self-employed despatch rider, with the inevitable collision. The rider was not at fault, but his bike was written off. Being self-employed and with the prospect of no money coming in, he was obviously keen to get back to work as he has a family to feed, bills to pay etc. However, he needed a motorcycle to do his job so he hired a bike, intending to pay off the hire at the end of the case. He was able to return to work within a day, as a result thus continuing to earn money, pay his bills and taxes etc - all perfectly normal and reasonable.

The law insists you should do everything reasonable to stop your losses mounting. By returning to work as soon as he could he had 'mitigated' his position in that he reduced his potential loss of earnings claim to virtually nothing. But, in doing so he had to incur a credit hire bill. Over the months that followed the accident the rider gradually scraped together enough money to buy another bike and once he had bought another bike he handed back the hire bike.

So far so fair, however a term in the Uninsured Driver Agreement effectively means that as the credit hire bill was a third party contractual obligation, not the client's personal loss, no compensation would be paid for it and the MIB sought to rely on the day of the trial. For our client that meant he would have to personally pay a bill in excess of £10,000, a bill he would not have incurred if the other driver had not pulled out in front of him.

If he had just claimed benefits, then his wages would have been paid. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors successfully argued that this despatch rider should not be penalised or treated differently to any other driver who had been forced to hire a vehicle by negligent driving. The case went to trial at West London County Court where full damages were Ordered to be paid, including the hire bill, and the MIB then paid them in full.

Arguably, victims of uninsured drivers now can get the same compensation as those who get knocked off by insured drivers. The despatch rider received nearly £20,000, including the hire charges.

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