If you have been involved in a traffic accident whereby you were hit by a motorist that then fled the scene without leaving contact details or insurance information, you should still be able to recover compensation. The motorist has committed a criminal offence by leaving the scene without exchanging details, though they usually do so in an attempt to avoid prosecution.
In the past, it was much easier for those committing hit-and-runs to avoid arrest. However, with an increasing number of CCTV cameras on roads, it is harder for the perpetrators to avoid arrest. Even so, there are still some cases where this happens. In these instances, the process of claiming personal injury compensation proceeds in a similar way to other traffic accidents, and the claim is filed against the insurance company of the negligent driver.
Even so, many drivers involved in hit-and-runs will not be insured (hence why they are fleeing the scene). Should this be the case, the victim will not be able to make a standard claim for personal injury compensation.
Unknown and Uninsured Motorists
Under normal circumstances, if a pedestrian is injured in a road accident, and the motorist was at fault for the accident and resulting injuries, the claim for compensation is filed against the insurance company of the driver.
Yet when there is no such insurance policy – either because the negligent driver has not been found or the driver is not insured – the claim is made against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). This body was founded to allow victims of road accidents to claim compensation from uninsured or untraceable drivers that were at fault for the accident. The settlements paid out by the MIB are funded through regular motor insurance policies: a percentage of every motor insurance premium sold in the United Kingdom is paid to the MIB.
Assigning Negligence in Hit-and-Run Accidents
Committing a hit-and-run is a criminal offence: if the driver is subsequently located by the police, he or she will then prosecuted as a criminal. Yet for a successful claim of hit-and-run compensation, it has to be proven that the driver caused the accident through negligent driving before fleeing the scene. The fact that the driver fled the scene does not lead to a valid claim.
Every motorist has a duty of care towards other drivers; as such, they are required to drive in a safe and responsible manner. If his or her driving results in the injury of another, he or she is deemed to have failed in this duty of care. This is classed as negligent driving, and can be ground for an injury compensation claim by the victim of the negligence. When making a claim against the MIB, it should be shown that the injuries were caused by negligence, though this can be complicated if the driver has not been found.
Steps in Claiming Hit-and-Run Compensation
It is strongly advised that anyone hoping to recover compensation for hit-and-run compensation consult a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident occurred. This will maximise the chance of receiving a fair and appropriate settlement of compensation, as it allows time for the correct collection of evidence. This will also mean that there should be less concern over the Statute of Limitations expiring before the claim is made.
That said, the first thing any victim should do is seek medical attention. Though it is advised to also contact the police quickly after the accident, the victim should not risk their safety by delaying treatment. Even if the injuries do not seem severe, they should still be attended to by a medical professional to ensure that they will not lead to long-term damage.
Additionally, if prompt medical attention is not sought, it could be considered as contributory negligence.
Police engagement should be sought quickly after the hit-and-run occurred; they may chose not to attend the scene in less serious cases, though the victim should still visit the police station after the fact and file a report. When possible, collect the names and contact details of any witnesses, as they may have seen part of a registration number or model and make of the vehicle.
Values of Hit-and-Run Compensation Settlements
It is usually quite difficult to estimate how much compensation the victim of a hit-and-run can expect to receive. There are many factors that will affect the settlement such as whether or not the driver was traced, the nature of the victim’s injuries and the victim’s health before the accident.
Any injuries will be evaluated in accordance with the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injuries Claims. The settlement will account for the nature of the injury, the impact they have had on the victim’s quality of life and any emotional trauma sustained because of the accident.
“Special damages” may also be awarded to account for any financial pressures that resulted from the accident. Costs such as medical treatment, vehicle repairs, loss of earnings may all be recovered by the claimant through special damages, though evidence must be supported to account for any claims.
Hit-and-Run Compensation Claims – A Summary
In cases where a hit-and-run has occurred and the negligent driver is either untraceable or uninsured, compensation can still be recovered through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, an organisation specifically set up to deal with such cases. It can be difficult to estimate how much compensation will be recovered, though consulting an experienced solicitor can help in the evaluations. It is also advised that the solicitor is consulted as early as possible in the process of claiming compensation: not only will he or she help with the legalities and procedures, but this will also maximise the chance of recovering a fair settlement of compensation.