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Title: Compensation for diesel spill accident

Date: 06 February 2013

Question

Just want to check if this seems right after seeing you in MCN.

I came off on diesel on 10 November 12, early morning heading out of Birmingham. I entered a roundabout going 15-20 mph and just hit the deck, no other vehicles on the roundabout. No-one saw me have the off, but two people saw me lying in the gutter and stopped to help. One, an ex-traffic officer, said diesel all over the road and to claim on MIB. Damaged to the bike was: broken front brake lever, indicator, exhaust can, crash bungs and rear brake pedal and housing. Reported this to MIB but they said I can't claim as they can't trace the vehicle responsible.

Is this acceptable?

Lee Ford – by e-mail

Answer

The MIB's reason for stating that you cannot claim is incorrect. The whole point of the MIB Untraced Drivers' Agreement 2003 is to compensate victims of negligent unidentifiable road users. Negligence extends to large diesel spills which are commonly found on roundabouts as a result of overfilled fuel tanks (necking) or tanks that have not been secured properly. The MIB does require a claimant to report the accident to the police within 14 days of the accident (within 5 days if property damage is to be claimed). I always recommend obtaining written confirmation of the police incident number. The claim must be submitted within 3 years of the date of the accident (or within 9 months if property damage is being claimed). The sooner a claim is submitted the better as memories will be fresh and the chance of document destruction / loss reduced - such as highway authority / council / fire service records.

However for a diesel spill claim to the MIB to succeed one must have sustained personal injury and they will compensate for the injuries and financial losses arising from the accident. But to claim property damage not only must you have sustained injuries but also those injuries must have been significant (defined by the MIB as requiring at least 4 days as an inpatient at hospital). You don't say if you were injured. If you were injured but the injuries were not "significant" then it may still be worth claiming as compensation for injuries and other financial losses such as loss of earnings could go some way to paying for repairs to your bike and kit.

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