The Court of Appeal heard a test case in which the victim of a hit and run car accident has won the right to sue an unnamed driver who caused her injuries and damaged her car so badly that it had to be written off. This decision has wider ramifications for personal injury lawyers and the car insurance companies.
After the incident the car that caused the accident was identified but it was not known who the driver was. Lawyers started court action for their client, the victim against the log book holder of the car. There was also a claim made to the insurance company and it transpired that the car’s insurance had been obtained fraudulently in a false name. The owner of the car had no insurance cover on the car and at the time of the accident was not driving the vehicle.
The claim was challenged by the insurers who accepted that had the first defendant been an ‘unnamed driver’ they would have honoured her claim for compensation, however the judge would not allow her to change her claim therefore she lost her claim.
The Court of Appeal overturned that decision by a majority and using its procedural powers permitted they change the first defendant to the unnamed driver using the make and model of car along with time and place as identification. By doing so she was able to make a successful claim for damages from the insurers.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 allowed for some arbitration in the matter of car insurance and the Court of Appeal were working within those parameters. The compensation figure could be £10 – £15,000 and is still to be finalized.
The implications of this case is that insurance companies will become liable for hit & run accidents regardless of who insured the vehicle and it is important to seek legal advice if you are a victim so you don’t lose out.
If you are affected by such an incident or would like more information about this subject then please contact us by telephone at our Corby office on 01536 276300 or call our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or simply get in touch online by clicking here.