John Cunningham, Chartered Legal Executive, considers a Court of Appeal landmark case concerning the rights of victims of uninsured drivers in accidents on private land in the UK.


The claimant had been pursued along a public highway by the first defendant farmer in an uninsured motor vehicle, then chased into a field which was private land. The farmer ran over the claimant with his vehicle, as a result of which the claimant suffered serious injuries. Because the farmer was uninsured, the claimant also sued the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), which has liability for uninsured drivers under the Uninsured Drivers Agreement (UDA) it made with the Secretary of State and under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988).


The problem for the claimant was that the RTA 1988 does not cover accidents on private land (enabling the MIB to deny liability), which is contrary to an EU Directive requiring motor insurance to be made available for all road traffic accidents in EU countries, including those on private land. The MIB also denied liability claiming that the EU Directive did not apply to road traffic accidents happening on private land because the MIB had no such liability under the RTA 1988.


The Court of Appeal decided that the EU Directive applied directly to the MIB and that the MIB is obliged to meet the relevant insurance liability for uninsured accidents on private land despite the RTA 1988. The claimant was therefore able to recover compensation from the MIB for his injuries and losses.


This decision by the Court of Appeal is unaffected by Brexit, which means that a claimant will continue to have the right to claim against the MIB when they suffer a road traffic accident on private land where the person responsible for the accident is not insured.




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