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Title: Can I claim property damage in diesel spill accident claim

Date: 26 April 2012

Question
I came off on a diesel spill in 2009 and suffered pretty bad injuries including the loss of my spleen, fractured ribs and a fractured wrist. My solicitor told me that I could not claim for property damage due to the rules – my bike was insured TPFT and my kit was damaged beyond repair so I lost out on about £3,000. But my solicitor has now written to me saying that I may be able to add these to my claim which has still not settled. Can you help explain what is going on?

Lawrence Moore

Answer

I think I know what has happened here. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) Victims of Untraced Drivers Agreement 2003 excluded claims for property damage. The reason cited by the MIB for this was to prevent fraud which to me was always a weak argument in cases where the police, ambulance and fire service could all confirm the presence of a diesel spill, for example. A European Directive should have been implemented in 2007 which allowed for compensation to be paid for property or property related damage. However, the MIB did not allow for such compensation until April 2011.

It was argued that the MIB (a government body) failed to implement the Directive on time. The result is that for current cases and for settled ones involving accidents on or after 11 June 2007 property damage is payable in cases involving “significant” injury (defined as requiring 4 or more continuous inpatient stays at hospital within a month of the accident) subject to a £300 excess. Solicitors should therefore review relevant closed and current cases and let the MIB know if their cases apply and if so the MIB will investigate which could mean more money to accident victims.

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Diesel Spill Accidents
Changing solicitors