What is the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)?
It is regularly the case that victims in road traffic accidents feel that they cannot claim compensation for their injuries if they were caused by a driver with no insurance, the driver of a foreign vehicle or if his or her identity is not known. This is a misconception, and in such circumstances there is an official body to provide information and – where necessary – uninsured motorist compensation for the injured victims of uninsured and unidentified drivers.
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is a non-profit making private company that was incorporated in 1955 by agreement between the Government and the Irish motor insurance companies. Legally, all licensed insurance companies underwriting motor insurance in Ireland are obliged to be members of MIBI and contribute (proportionate to market share) to operating costs and funding for claims that fall under the remit of the MIBI.
What is the MIBI Remit?
The MIBI is responsible for providing help to trace drivers who have fled the scene of accidents, compensating victims of accidents caused by motorists who do not have valid insurance cover and acting as an intermediary for victims of accidents where the liable driver is insured in a different country. The MIBI can compensate victims for their personal injuries where a hit and run driver cannot be found and also in a limited number of circumstances for damage to property (subject to excesses).
What about Unidentified and Uninsured Vehicles?
If you are involved in an accident for which you were not wholly at fault, and the other driver(s) left the scene of the accident without stopping, the Gardai may be able to find the vehicle by use of roadside cameras or other CCTV technology. If they are unsuccessful in their attempt to find the vehicle, you should advise the MIBI that you intend to pursue a claim against an unknown driver. Thereafter, on your application form to the InjuriesBoard.ie, the MIBI should be named as the respondent who would be liable to pay uninsured motorist compensation.
If you have the registration number of a vehicle which was to blame for an accident in which you were injured, MIBI can provide you with the insurance details of the other vehicle, if it is insured, or confirm if the vehicle has no insurance policy. From there you would either pursue your personal injury compensation claim against the negligent driver´s insurance company or — if the negligent driver was not insured — notify the MIBI of your intention to pursue a claim against an uninsured vehicle, in which case the MIBI again become the respondent in your application for assessment to the InjuriesBoard.ie.
Should I Employ a Solicitor to Make a Compensation Claim with the MIBI?
There is no obligation to employ a solicitor to make a claim on your behalf and you are fully entitled to deal directly with the MIBI should you wish to do so. It is however advisable to instruct a solicitor following the revised January 2009 Agreement which limits MIBI´s liability in certain scenarios and imposes new time limits for advising them of your intention to pursue uninsured motorist compensation claims against them.
At a time when you may be recuperating from your injuries, and in no physical or emotional condition to absorb the new requirements of making a claim against the MIBI, it is in your best interests to delegate your unidentified/uninsured motorist compensation claim to a professional who has experience of filing and handing such claims.
What is Involved in Making an Uninsured Motorist Compensation Claim?
Making an uninsured motorist compensation claim against the MIBI following a road traffic accident is, in many ways, very like suing any other driver. An insured driver normally refers the plaintiff to his insurance company who will defend the claim on his or her behalf. The MIBI do precisely the same thing; the matter will be referred to one of the MIBI’s member insurance companies who will defend the compensation claim against an uninsured vehicle in the same manner as they would any other.
The role of the MIBI “Claims Management Services Provider” who handles the compensation case on behalf of the bureau is no different than that of a claims handler from any other insurance company; his role is to pay as little compensation as is possible to the plaintiff. There is nothing corrupt or dishonest associated with doing so – it is simply good business practice on their part. Unfortunately, because of the unfamiliar procedures associated with making an uninsured motorist claim, many plaintiffs settle for uninsured motorist compensation awards that are well below their true worth.
An experienced personal injury claims solicitor will be able to guide you on what is a fair and accurate settlement of uninsured motorist compensation for your claim and will compile a claim for hit and run accident compensation or uninsured motorist compensation on your behalf which returns the highest possible award you are entitled to.
It is vital to note that each case is unique. If you have been the victim of a road traffic accident caused by the negligence of an uninsured or unidentified driver, and think that you have a potential personal injury claim against the MIBI, you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.