I have been involved in two no—fault collisions, both rear-enders and there was absolutely nothing I could do about either of them.
But now I am as a Londoner, close to uninsurable. My premiums have increased exponentially, to the point where I am possibly going to have to give up bikes. Do I have any legal remedy?
You do, but you will have to work at it, and timing is crucial. Your insurers have now rated you as an accident magnet. They are allowed to quote for what they perceive as your risk, however unfairly.
You must make sure that you do not settle “in full and final settlement” on any offer from the third Party. There are some get-outs from a full and final offer but these are too complex and fact—sensitive for a column. You almost certainly will need to go to the small claims court to prove the following things.
First, the accidents were caused by the other two drivers. That seems straightforward enough. You need to name both the drivers and their insurers as defendants. You then need to set out what your complaint is, namely “as a result of these collisions my annual insurance premium has gone up from £500.00 per annum to £2,000.00 per annum, an annual increase of £1500.00”. This loading will go on for five or maybe six years. It will decrease and you may need to get online quotes showing your current premium and then the premium without these two collisions. If you have already taken a “full and final settlement” expect that defence to be raised.
In order to work out how your loading will go, you will need to get illustrative quotes but bear in mind your loading goes down over time so you need to factor this in. it is not year one loading multiplied by five.
There are no cases directly on point but there are some old cases which support your claim (Ironfield v Eastern Gas Board 1964, Sandhu v Roberts 1989 and Patel v London Transport 1981). However, these are only illustrations relating to insurance premium and road tax of the ancient principles of the law of restitution, which goes back to ancient Roman law and says that the victim of actionable harm is entitled to be put in the position he would have been in but for the civil wrong.
The law is simple enough. Your hardest task is illustrating the loss. That will take some effort using comparison websites to give a solid demonstration of the loss that you have sustained.
It will not be an easy case. The standard defence run is that the act of loading your insurance is an unforeseeable act by a third party and the new risk assessment is not the fault of the two careless drivers.
In my view, where there is an obvious hike in premiums, you have a case that you can prove. A small loading on one case is usually not worth pursuing as it rarely meaningfully impacts on your premium and evidence gathering of increased premium is not worth the effort or the risk of failure. Your position is unusual. While you do have a potential remedy in law. it will be tough going. Good luck.
RiDE Magazine January 2020