A road traffic accident is an extremely traumatic experience.  Apart from serious injury, shock and distress is the added burden of medical bills, car repairs/replacement, loss of earnings and so on.  It is for this reason we have insurance and where the other party is at fault a claim for compensation can be made against their insurance company.

Claims against uninsured drivers

However, although motor insurance is compulsory in Ireland, sometimes the other driver is uninsured or his insurance does not cover for one reason or other.  Also, a driver may leave the scene of the accident and you have no way of identifying them or their vehicle.  Fortunately, in Ireland, there is a specific body set up to deal with such situations known as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, often referred to as the ‘MIBI’ which has been in the news recently as a result of a Court of Appeal decision on Wednesday relating to Setanta Insurance.

The MIBI

The MIBI is financed by way of a levy on motor insurers and is responsible for compensating innocent victims who are injured by uninsured or untraced drivers.  There are strict rules for bringing claims against the MIBI.  The injured party must notify the MIBI of his intention to seek compensation.  The MIBI, once it accepts the claim, will then be named in any proceedings arising from the accident.  Therefore, the MIBI effectively steps in as the insurance company for the offending driver.   Strict conditions must be fulfilled by a claimant before pursuing such a claim for compensation against the MIBI.

Conditions for claiming against the MIBI

  1. The claimant must be available for interview about the accident by the MIBI’s representative.
  2. The accident must be reported to the Gardaí within two days.
  3. The claimant must furnish the MIBI with all relevant material information, including medical and Garda reports.
  4. The MIBI must be notified before any claim involving it is lodged with the Injuries Board or the Courts.

Procedure

The Injuries Board will either make an Order to Pay against the MIBI or issue an Authorisation to allow proper Court proceedings for compensation be taken.

As an innocent victim of someone else’s negligent or careless driving you are entitled to be compensated whether the other driver is insured or not.  Legal advice should be sought immediately as claims against the MIBI have very technical rules, as stated above.  There are also strict time limits (two years from the date of the accident) for claims for compensation for personal injuries.

As regards the uninsured driver, MIBI has the right to pursue that uninsured person personally to recover any monies paid out in the compensation claim.  If the uninsured person has property or assets this is a very serious matter.

The MIBI’s liability has been further extended last Wednesday when the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld an earlier decision of the High Court that the MIBI was also liable for the 1,750 outstanding claims against the policy holders of Setanta Insurance Company which collapsed two years ago.  While this is good news for those with outstanding claims against Setanta it will inevitably lead to an increase in all motor insurance policy premiums as insurers levy contribution to the MIBI fund is increased.