By Eoin P. Campbell LLB, Solicitor
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)
It is often the case that victims in road traffic accidents believe that they cannot claim compensation for their injuries if they were caused by a driver with no insurance, the driver of a foreign car or if his or her identity is unknown. This is a misconception, and in such circumstances a body exists to provide information and – where necessary – uninsured motorist compensation for the injured victims of uninsured and unidentified drivers.
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is a non-profit making private company that was established in 1955 by agreement between the Government and the Irish motor insurance companies. By law all licensed insurance companies underwriting motor insurance in Ireland are required to be members of MIBI and contribute (proportionate to market share) to operational costs and funding for claims that fall under the remit of the MIBI.
The MIBI Remit
The MIBI is responsible for providing assistance to trace drivers who leave the scene of accidents, compensating victims of accidents caused by motorists who do not have valid insurance cover and acting as an intermediary for victims of accidents where the liable driver is insured abroad. The MIBI can compensate victims for their personal injuries where a hit and run driver cannot be traced and also in a limited number of circumstances for damage to property (subject to excesses).
Unidentified and Uninsured Vehicles
If you are involved in an accident for which you were not wholly to blame, and the other driver(s) left the scene of the accident without stopping, the Gardai may be able to trace the vehicle by use of roadside cameras or other CCTV technology. If they are unsuccessful in their attempt to trace the vehicle, you should inform the MIBI that you intend to pursue a claim against an unknown driver. Thereafter, on your application form to the InjuriesBoard.ie, the MIBI should be named as the respondent.
If you have the registration number of a vehicle which was responsible for an accident in which you were injured, MIBI can provide you with the insurance details of the other vehicle, if it is insured, or confirm if the vehicle has no insurance cover. From there you would either pursue your personal injury claim against the negligent driver´s insurance company or — if not insured — notify the MIBI of your intention to pursue a claim against an uninsured vehicle, in which case the MIBI again become the respondent in your claim to the InjuriesBoard.ie.
Should I Engage a Solicitor to Make a Claim with the MIBI?
There is no compulsion to engage a solicitor to make a claim on your behalf and you are fully entitled to deal directly with the MIBI should you wish to do so. It is however advisable to instruct a solicitor following the revised January 2009 Agreement which limits MIBI´s liability in certain circumstances and imposes new time limits for advising them of your intention to pursue claims against them.
At a time when you may be recovering from your injuries, and in no physical or emotional condition to absorb the new requirements of making a claim against the MIBI, it is in your best interests to delegate your unidentified/uninsured motorist compensation claim to a professional who has experience of making such claims.
Making an Uninsured Motorist Compensation Claim
Making a claim with the MIBI following a road traffic accident is, in many ways, very similar to suing any other driver. An insured driver normally refers the claimant to his insurance company who will defend the claim on his or her behalf. The MIBI do precisely the same thing; the matter will be referred to one of the MIBI’s member insurance companies who will defend the claim in the same manner as they would any other.
The job of the MIBI “Claims Management Services Provider” who handles the case on behalf of the bureau is no different than that of a claims handler from any other insurance company; his role is to pay as little compensation as is possible to the victim. There is nothing corrupt or dishonest in so doing – it is simply good business practice on their part. Unfortunately, because of the unfamiliar procedures associated with making an uninsured motorist claim, many victims settle for uninsured motorist compensation awards that are well below their true value.
An experienced personal injury claims solicitor will be able to advise you on what is a fair and accurate settlement of uninsured motorist compensation for your claim and will prepare a claim for hit and run accident compensation or uninsured motorist compensation which returns the maximum award you are entitled to.
It is important to note that each case is unique. If you have recently been the victim of a road traffic accident caused by the negligence of an uninsured or unidentified driver, and feel that you have a potential personal injury claim with the MIBI, you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Copyright © 2009-2015 Eoin Campbell
About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose primary professional experience is the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.