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Title: I'm out of pocket after crash - transferring solicitors

Date: 06 April 2011


I am what you call a mature rider; an ex-instructor and an ex-road racer and up until last August enjoyed sunny days on my V-twin.
I was knocked off the bike at a crossroads by a van. I think he was on the telephone. His next move was to do a runner.
The bike was a write off and most of my riding gear, Aria lid etc was broken – in all about £1600.
The insurers paid out on the bike less the excess. The solicitors said you will get this with your uninsured losses but now the motor insurers board will not pay this. Is there an appeal system? I am still having physio on my shoulder and have no riding gear or bike for that matter and the firm employed to chase things up seem only interested in settling the claim
Your solicitors did not advise you correctly as to the MIB’s position in relation to compensation for property damage. If the offending van remains untraced (and no registration number was taken down by witnesses) then I am afraid that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) will not pay property damage such as helmet and leathers or property related damage such as an excess under its Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 2003. The agreement specifically excludes compensation for property damage.
I am aware that the MIB is considering redrafting its Untraced Drivers’ Agreement and that it will allow for the payment of property and property related damage to comply with European legislation. Strictly speaking the MIB, a government body, should already have done so and if a determined enough person wanted to they could succeed in what is called a Francovich claim for damages against the Secretary of State for Transport – as yet I have not found a client who is willing to place his claim on hold (and risk the costs of losing, albeit small risk) to pursue this.
The MIB will compensate for personal injuries and for other financial losses such as loss of earnings, care provided, private medical costs and so on.

As ever my advice is readers is to instruct an expert solicitor who actually knows what compensation accident victims are entitled to claim. Sadly it is too often the case that the solicitors who buy accident claims from insurers (i.e. pay for the referral of your accident) are often not legally qualified and are not experts. This explains why so many clients transfer their claims to this firm and other true specialists.

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