Advice: Hit & Runs

What can you do if you have been injured in a hit and run or by an uninsured driver?

The following article has been written Pryers Solicitors, personal injury solicitors who not only specialise in helping cyclists that have been injured, but have a keen cycling workforce, from commuters to iron man competitors. Here’s their expert advice on what to do if you are involved in a hit and run, or knocked off your bike by an uninsured driver.

Road traffic collisions are common enough that most people have some idea of what to do if you’ve been involved in a collison– not to say it isn’t worth reading our guide, because there are definitely some handy tips that you might not have thought of, especially if you’ve never had to make a claim before. Less common, is being hit by an untraceable driver (in a hit and run, for example), or an uninsured driver, who is driving illegally.

Sadly, ‘less common’ is not ‘never’ though and the fact that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau – who deal with these types of claim – receive more than 20,000 claims a year, suggests that they are common enough that you should know what to do, in case you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in one.

What should you do if you have been hit?

Starting at the scene of the collision, you should try as best as possible to do what you would normally do. To re-cap, that is: –

  1. Take photos;
  2. Report it to relevant people/organisation(s);
  3. Think about why it happened;
  4. Exchange details;
  5. Seek relevant treatment, as soon as possible;
  6. Save any evidence of damaged equipment or replacements.

If any of these seem a little alien to you, it is definitely worth reading our advice about what to do if you have been involved in a collision. There are some key differences in collisions involving uninsured or hit and run vehicles though.

Photos

If the vehicle which caused the collision has driven off, it obviously will not be possible to photograph the scene as it was at the time of the collision, but any photographs depicting the collision location, conditions and damage caused, at the actual scene, will be extremely helpful when it comes to proving that the collision occurred.

Reporting the Collision

Where the driver who caused the collision is either untraced or uninsured, it is crucial to report the collision to the police. Not only have they committed a criminal offence, but the Motor Insurers’ Bureau require the incident to have been reported to the police, if it was a hit and run claim (ideally within 5 days of the collision, and if not, as soon as possible).

Exchange details

This is a stage that is often fraught with problem in claims like these, because, a hit and run driver won’t be there to exchange details with and an uninsured driver might be evasive – for obvious reasons – so it is a case of doing your best. Even in the case of a hit and run driver, you might be able to get the following:

  • Registration;
  • Make;
  • Model;
  • Colour of vehicle;
  • Description of driver.

Don’t underestimate the importance of any detail, as it can all help towards tracing the vehicle, or at the very least, proving the collision happened.

If you managed to get the registration, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau suggest using www.askmid.com from the roadside (if it is safe to do so), to check whether the vehicle is insured. If it is, you will be able to pursue a claim through the insurance company; if not, you will be able to seek compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Independent witnesses, passers-by and other drivers are also as important as ever, if not more important and can be crucial in corroborating your claim, so make sure you exchange details with them too.

How to start a claim

Having established that the driver of the vehicle which caused the incident is untraceable or uninsured, it is time to submit your claim for assessment. If you haven’t already, now is the best time to instruct a solicitor to handle the claim for you. Although it is possible to submit a claim directly to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, a legal representative can help to ensure that all the important information is submitted and advise you on everything that can be included in your claim, because there might be items or losses that you haven’t considered.

An application should be submitted as soon as possible, and in any event, not later than three years after the collision occurred, if there is a physical injury included in the claim. If the claim is for property damage only (no injury), the time limit is 6 years.

What you can claim

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau will generally assess your claim in the same way as an ordinary claim, however there are some important differences, which is another reason why it’s not a bad thing to have a legal representative who can advise you of these nuances.

For example: If the driver was untraced the Motor Insurers’ Bureau will only pay for property damage where the other vehicle is identified, or ‘significant personal injury’ has been caused to someone by the collision (but it doesn’t have to be the person making the claim). And if property damage is included in the settlement because of significant injury being caused, a £400 excess can also be applied. This principle does not apply in uninsured claims.

There are also types of losses you can claim which aren’t as well known, so although a solicitor might charge a fee – Pryers charge a maximum of 25% of the settlement sum, on a no win no fee basis – this can sometimes be justified by the fact that they ensure you recover all of the compensation you are entitled to.

How do I get started?

If want to get started, or have any specific queries, you can contact Pryers, who deal with both uninsured driver claims and hit and run collision, for advice about how we can help you on a no win no fee basis.

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