Road traffic accidents are a frightening experience. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be almost as traumatizing. When an accident involves an uninsured or unidentified driver, you’ll need to follow some basic steps closely to protect yourself.
Responsible drivers should always hold active insurance on their vehicles, but for a law-abiding citizen involved in an accident where the other driver does not have insurance, there must be justice. As the consequences of any road traffic accident may have life-changing consequences, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) was set up to specifically compensate the victims of uninsured or unidentified road users.
In a normal car accident claim, a claim for compensation would be taken against the person responsible for the accident. Yet, when that person is either unknown or uninsured, a claim for compensation is taken against the MIBI instead. The process of taking a claim against the MIBI is slightly different than other claims and for that reason it is important to engage a solicitor experienced in uninsured claims.
Unlike other road traffic accidents, these initial steps are very important for accidents involving an uninsured or unidentified driver. Depending on the circumstances, the following steps may not need to be completed in the order given. As each accident is unique, certain steps may not need to be taken, or may take precedence over the other.
Step 1 – Call the Gardaí
While we would always advise people involved in a traffic accident to call the Gardaí, this advice is especially pertinent if it involves an uninsured or unidentified road user. There may be a possible criminal matter to be investigated, or it may be nothing as nefarious. Yet, having the Garda at the scene first gives you the ability to share your information and allows them to make an official report. A report is not only for possible further investigation but also for insurance reasons. The Garda can also assess if you or someone else needs medical treatment and they can give guidance on how to best handle any further steps.
Step 2 – Gather as much information as you can
After the accident when you are in a position to do so, write down any and all information in relation to the accident. Include the date and time of the accident as well as the location of the accident. If the accident involved private property, you should also get the owner’s name, address, and phone number. In cases involving an uninsured driver, you should record the registration number of their vehicle, along with their name, address, and phone number. You should also take down the details of anyone who witnessed the accident. In addition to gathering information, we would advise that you take as many pictures as you can of the scene of the accident as well as any injuries you may have sustained.
Step 3 – Determine your next steps
Should you move the cars? For a minor accident, moving the cars off the road can be helpful, but beware of any leaking fluids. If it’s a more severe accident, then direct traffic around the accident if possible and wait for assistance.
Warn other drivers about your accident. If you can’t move your vehicle, you should turn on the hazard lights and if possible, set up orange warning triangles so other drivers are aware there was an accident.
Call for help. If you or anyone in the other vehicle is injured, calling emergency services in addition to the Garda is an absolute necessity. A person’s health and well-being should always take precedence over a vehicular accident, so this may need to be the first step taken.
Stay at the scene. Legally, you must stay at the scene for a reasonable amount of time, to ensure that your car is removed, that the Garda as well as the other driver has your information, and that the road is able to resume normal traffic again.
It is important to assess the accident as soon as you possibly can to determine your steps. These steps may not need to be done in the order mentioned here, but they should be completed so there is an accurate record of the accident and the individuals involved.
Further, if the accident involved a fatality, there will probably be an investigation by the Garda and a coroner. Further steps may include an inquest and criminal prosecution.
Get in touch with us
If you have been injured in an accident involving an uninsured/unidentified road user, it’s important that you seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor as soon as possible. You only have 2 years from the date of your accident in which to initiate your claim.
The role of a solicitor is to acquire and document the relevant details, submit the relevant applications, negotiate settlements, and represent you if your case ever goes to court. That’s why it’s important that you choose a firm, such as O’Brien Murphy Solicitors, with experience and a proven track record when it comes to uninsured/unidentified road traffic accident cases.
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