Motorcycle accident with an uninsured driver?
What happens if you are hit by an uninsured driver when you’re riding your bike?
The chances of it happening are greater than you might think, with around 1 million drivers on the road without insurance. And the problem is getting worse, with a 10% increase in the year to summer 2015.
With roughly a third of those drivers being under 30, there’s a good chance that the driver may not have the ability to cover your costs. Costs which soon add up.
What you should be able to claim if they were insured
Even relatively low-speed minor accidents can come with significant costs. A faired bike that ‘goes down the road’ could easily end up with over £1,500 of damage to the fairings, foot pages, indicators, levers etc.
If an engine casing is cracked the costs are going to be far worse…
Then there’s your protective clothing. A decent set of leathers is anywhere between £500-£1000. If your helmet touched the tarmac, that could be another £150-£800.
If you were injured, there could be loss of earnings to take into consideration. And if you’ve had to get private physiotherapy, for example, those sessions can really add up over time.
So there’s a lot that might need to be paid for. Who’s paying if an insurance company isn’t?
If the driver has the means to pay
It’s possible through a legitimate mistake – the uninsured driver hadn’t got round to reinsuring or there has been an administrative error – that the driver will at least indicate that they will pay for the damage.
But, they may not follow through once they realise the real costs of a motorcycle accident.
To give yourself the best chance of a quick and pain-free payout, keep all negotiations reasonable and courteous (even when you really don’t feel like it) and be efficient in your communications – no chances of misunderstandings, and quick responses to questions.
However, many uninsured drivers do it deliberately to save money and the chances of them volunteering to pay are slim.
If you still think the driver can afford to pay for the damages you can sue him or her through the Small Claims court process. You can download a guide to the process here.
Be warned, though, there are fees associated and there is a risk that the uninsured driver could negotiate payments terms that allow them to pay the costs over time. Unlike you, who will have probably had to pay for them already to get yourself back on the road.
If the driver can’t or won’t pay
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau offers compensation to people injured in an accident, via the Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement. It’s a legal minefield of opt-outs and cop outs and you are seriously advised to employ a solicitor to help to navigate the procedure and forms – their standard costs are covered by the agreement.
They don’t cover the costs of damage to your bike and kit, though. Rather disgustingly in our opinion, the MIB, will simply tell you that if you have comprehensive insurance, you should make the claim for any repairs through your own insurer. Leaving you potentially with an end to your no claims discount and a hefty increase in premiums.
They will cover injury, suffering and loss of amenity though. At least that’s something, huh?
If the driver can’t be traced
The MIB, which is a Government body, also operates the Untraced Driver’s Agreement. This comes into play when the accident involves a hit and run or if the driver gives false identity and contact details. It also can be used for accidents as a result of a diesel spillage).
How to get yourself sorted:
Speak to a solicitor straight away, preferably one who is a specialist in motorcycle accidents involving an uninsured driver. They’ll advise you on your options and the best way forward.