Hit by an uninsured or untraced driver – what do you do?
Andrew Flagg Partner in our Civil Litigation Department looks at what happens if you're hit by an uninsured driver, it can be difficult to know what to do next. The process for dealing with the aftermath of this type of accident isn't always clear and it's often necessary to seek guidance. Here, we take a look at the various steps you need to take if you're hit by an uninsured or untraced driver.
What is an uninsured driver?
As you will already know, an uninsured driver is someone that is driving a vehicle with no insurance, or in circumstances that invalidate their insurance. For instance, a vehicle may be insured, but if the driver isn't insured on that particular vehicle, they'll be classified as an uninsured driver. Similarly, if they have submitted incorrect information to their insurance provider, their policy may be invalidated, and they'll be classified as an uninsured driver.
What is an untraced driver?
An untraced driver is often referred to as a hit and run' driver. They are individuals who leave the accident before exchanging information with the other motorist, or refuse to wait for the police to arrive. Though they aren't necessarily always uninsured, a large percentage of untraced drivers flee the scene of the accident because they're not insured to drive their vehicle. It's also possible that an untraced driver is behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle.
What steps to take
If you are hit by an uninsured or untraced driver, there are a few things you can do to maximise your chance of either catching the hit and run driver, or filing a successful insurance claim. These can be grouped into four distinct phases.
1. At the scene of the accident
At the scene of the accident, it's important that you collect and record as much information as possible. While an untraced driver will, by definition, flee, an uninsured driver may hand over false information in order to protect themselves. Consequently, you need to remain aware and try to memorise a description of the driver, take photos, and request any witnesses' contact information. Likewise, you'll need to record as many details of the vehicle as you can.
2. After the accident
After the accident, you need to contact the police and your insurance provider. If you've been injured as a result of the incident, you'll need to contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). You may want to employ the services of a solicitor in order to do so. The MIB specialise in insurance claims against uninsured and untraced drivers. In certain circumstances, they'll even settle the claim when an uninsured driver is unable to do so.
3. Making a claim
In order to make a claim, you'll have to meet certain requirements. For instance, the accident must have been reported to the police within a certain timeframe. This is within 14 days for personal injury, and five days for property damage. Likewise, you must make attempts to identify and locate the driver by contacting the police and the DVLA. Finally, you'll also need to prove culpability. This means that you'll have to show compelling evidence that the accident was the fault of the other driver.
4. The claim itself
Having made a claim, the MIB will investigate the incident by collaborating your account with the police report. The time it takes for the claim to be settled depends on the length of the police investigation and how long it takes for your injuries to be fully diagnosed.
If you're hit by an untraced or uninsured driver, it's vital that you try and remember as many details as possible at the scene of the accident. You must also report it to the police and your insurance provider as quickly as you can, and start to collect compelling evidence that the other driver was responsible for the collision. If you follow the steps listed above, your chances of filing a successful claim are greatly improved.