The Motor Insurers' Bureau has existed since 1946 and will indemnify cyclists who have been the victim of an uninsured driver or a hit and run motorist. The two categories are dealt with separately and have different rules. The basic rule, however, is that a claimant must prove his claim on the balance of probabilities just as if it was a normal claim.
The Uninsured Motorist
The Motor Insurers' Bureau are sticklers for rules and regulations. It is advisable to allow a Solicitor to deal with this type of claim, as there are many pitfalls that will allow the Bureau to refuse your claim.
If you are a victim of an uninsured motorist, you are able to claim as if the driver was insured. In other words property damage, financial losses and compensation for personal injury can be claimed subject to a property excess of £300 which is met by the claimant. If there is other insurance such as household insurance that will meet the claim then the Bureau will not accept the claim. The Bureau will normally pay your legal costs and expenses.
The Untraced Driver
If you have had the misfortune to be the victim of a hit and run accident, then the Bureau will compensate you for your bodily injury and loss of earnings. For accidents after the 14 February 2003 property damage can be claimed on the same basis as the uninsured i.e. subject to a £300 excess. The Bureau will normally cover the cost of a medical report and a modest amount towards your legal fees. In a claim not exceeding £150,000, costs will be 15% of award subject to a £500 minimum and a £3000 maximum. For claims exceeding £150,000, costs will be 2% of award. If the Bureau refuses your claim, you can appeal against their decision. As the number of claims against the Bureau increase, a stronger line is being adopted. It is not unknown for liability to be initially declined but on appeal, a significant contribution or even full indemnity can be obtained. In these situations, skill in accident investigation and reconstruction is essential.
Immediate action should always be taken in these circumstances, to preserve any evidence of a collision to the Bureau that a third party vehicle was involved and the driver of that vehicle was negligent. The matter should be reported to the Police as soon as possible and within 5 days, since failure to do so will allow the Bureau to reject the claim.