I am a delivery rider for a well-known food company, I won’t name them, but it rhymes with kangaroo.
I was doing a food drop-off in my local town centre when I was knocked off my bike. A VW Polo was stationary at a junction, and I thought I would undertake it. I pulled alongside it and looked at the driver. As I did so, he took off at speed and turned left, clipping my bike and knocking me off onto the pavement. The driver initially stopped for a few seconds and then drove off.
It was a busy town centre and some passers-by came to my rescue. One even tried to stand in front of the car to stop the car driver from leaving! The driver drove around the pedestrian and raced off. Another passer-by took a photograph of the car as it drove away. The police were called and attended. They were really good, as were the witnesses, who all gave statements and the photographs.
I wasn’t badly injured but enough to be off work for three weeks. Burger and chips were left all over the pavement. My manager had to call the customer and tell them what had happened. I work on commission, so the more jobs I do, the more I earn. I am out of pocket and my bike needs repairing.
I have now heard from my claims management company that the claim cannot continue as the driver was not traced. The registered keeper of the VW Polo refused to respond to the police for info, so was fined at court and got points. My claims management company tell me that the registered keeper may be different from the driver, despite them having information that only one person is insured on that VW Polo.
They’ve told me that they will close my file and that I won’t get any compensation. Surely this can’t be right? Help!
First of all, sack the claims management company and get a proper solicitor. They clearly don’t know what they are doing. The only correct advice you have had so far is that there is no presumption in law that the registered keeper is always the driver of said car.
Let me start from the beginning: identity, identity, identity. This is so important. I can see that the car was insured to a well-known insurer. They have rejected the claim to your current clown outfit on the basis that you cannot identify the driver. This is correct and any decent solicitor will know of the case of Cameron V. Hussain, which basically reaffirmed the law that you can only sue a named driver, not ‘drivers unknown’ – save for in exceptional circumstances.
However, and most importantly, your claim does not stop there. It can continue against the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), an insurer of ‘last resort’. Each year insurers pay into a central pot of money controlled by the MIB.
It was set up in 1946 to deal with claims where the wrong-doer is either uninsured or untraced, the latter being formalised as early as 1969 in the Untraced Drivers Agreement. Get your claim form in as soon as possible and before the third anniversary of the accident. I will not hide the fact that the Untraced Agreement is less generous to you as an injured party.
For example. In an untraced claim, the MIB will not be liable for property damage (in your case, your helmet and protective clothing) if you did not suffer a ‘significant personal injury” – which is described as death, two nights or more of hospital in-patient treatment or three sessions or more of hospital out-patient treatment. Your injuries were transient in nature, and you took painkillers and rested at home. The damage to your motorcycle kit would have been recoverable against the insurer of the motorcar, had the driver been identified.
The MIB will also not pay for vehicle repairs if you have the benefit of fully comprehensive insurance, meaning you have to pay your excess, and this will sit as a fault claim on your claim’s history. However unfair that seems, that is how the Untraced Agreement is drafted. I think the rationale behind this is to protect the limited pot of money the MIB controls.
In summary, you have a claim and you will win. It is shame that the other driver was not identified, as the insurer for the VW Polo would have had to deal with all of your losses in a more comprehensive way than the MIB.
Your case is one where I would imagine having a helmet camera would have paid for itself three times over. That video evidence would have potentially helped the police investigate and identify the driver, in turn, this would mean you could have brought your claim against him and his insurer, meaning a more comprehensive settlement of your damages claim.
Fast Bikes February 2022