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Why it is necessary to obtain the name of the at-fault driver in a road traffic accident

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A recent ruling in the Supreme Court illustrates the significant importance of obtaining the name and address of the driver of a vehicle which causes a road traffic accident, as if you do not , you may not be able to issue proceedings to recover compensation.

The case related an accident in 2013 in which Bianca Cameron’s car was involved in a non-fault accident with a Nissan Micra, whose driver left the scene without stopping or reporting the incident to the police. The registered keeper of the Micra was traced but was not prepared to identify the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident. The registered keeper of the vehicle was not himself insured to drive the Micra which was insured with LV Insurance, with a different name given.

A​ttempts to sue the registered keeper of the Micra for compensation failed. However the claim was amended to include the insurer of the vehicle in the court proceedings. An appeal court ruled that “the court had discretion to permit an unknown person to be sued whenever justice required it, and that an alternative right of claim against the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) was irrelevant”.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the appeal court decision was wrong, determining that Mrs Cameron would have to pursue a claim via the MIB.

This decision could leave injured people at a disadvantage if they are involved in accidents where the at-fault driver simply drives off from the scene, failing to exchange details or report to the police. The innocent party can pursue a claim via the MIB untraced driver agreement scheme, however such claims have many hurdles to cross before they are accepted, so where possible always seek to exchange details with an at-fault driver at the scene and obtain their name and address.

If you have had an accident, or suffered an injury as a result of a road traffic accident, please contact Stephensons personal injury department for specialist advice on 01616 966 229.