What you need to know about car insurance

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It’s a fact of life that accidents happen. Minor bumps and shunts are inevitable and it’s normal practice to exchange car insurance details with the other driver(s) involved. However, this is not always possible. The other party may be uncooperative, they might fail to stop at the scene of the accident or they may even be driving without insurance.

In the past accident victims were often faced with the difficult task of trying to find out if the other driver was insured. Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) searches did not always provide the answers and even if the vehicle owner was identified, there was no guarantee they’d respond. Difficulties also arose if the other driver was uninsured.

Solicitors too, would also encounter problems trying to obtain relevant information.

This all changed with the launch of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) in 2001 to tackle the growing problem of uninsured driving in the UK. The MID is the central record of all insured vehicles in the UK. It is managed by the Motor Insurance Bureau and is used by the Police and the DVLA to enforce motor insurance laws. Checking if a vehicle is insured or not is quick, simple and free – all you need is the registration number.

Whenever a vehicle is insured, the insurer must notify details of the policy to the Motor Insurance Database. However, the system does not currently record the names of the drivers who are covered under the policy.

When accidents are more serious and involve life-changing injuries, it may be possible to make a claim for personal injury compensation if it can be proved the accident wasn’t your fault.

Here at Novum Law we help road traffic accident victims every day who, through no fault of their own, find themselves with very serious injuries.

One such client we helped was a pedestrian who sustained life-changing injuries when he was hit by a car late at night. There were no witnesses and his family did not know how the accident happened or whether anyone was at fault.

They approached us to make some initial enquiries. We were able to obtain the vehicle’s registration number from the Police and establish that the car was indeed insured. We pursued a claim for personal injury compensation and the driver admitted liability for the accident.

As a result, a substantial settlement was agreed and later approved by the High Court. The compensation has enabled the family to secure additional help and support to care for our client. They have also been able to buy a specially adapted house and car to make their daily lives easier.

Our advice to anyone who has been involved in a road traffic accident is to seek professional legal advice.  Even if the details of what happened are not exactly clear or liability is in question, a specialist personal injury lawyer has the experience and expertise to ask the right questions and obtain the relevant evidence.

And remember – you don’t have to accept the help from the ‘panel solicitor’ your insurance provider recommends – they may not have the expertise you need. You are free to choose your own legal representation.

If you’d like to learn more about the Motor Insurance Bureau, you can read our advice on ‘Five things you didn’t know about motor insurance bureau claims’.

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