European Law Rescues Victim of Uninsured Driver

The High Court recently ruled, in the case of Lewis v Tindale and MIB, that the catastrophically injured victim of an uninsured driver, injured in an accident on private land, should be compensated by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). The MIB are a body who compensate victims of uninsured or untraced drivers under the terms of legal agreements.

Whilst looking for somewhere to fish the claimant was found on farmland owned by the first defendant. The first defendant chased the claimant across several fields in his 4x4. Eventually the first defendant drove through a fence and, in consequence, ran the claimant over. This caused a catastrophic spinal cord injury and left the claimant tetraplegic. The first defendant did not have insurance, and the claim was also brought against the MIB. The MIB denied liability and argued that because they were only liable to compensate for accidents “on a road or other public place” and not on private land they were not liable. In 2014 the European Court of Justice had ruled in the case of VNUK that EU Law required accidents on private land, caused by vehicles, to be covered. It was not clear, however, how the decision of the European Court could be enforced through the English Courts.

An important finding was made that the MIB was an emanation of the state and that the European Directive which makes motor insurance compulsory, can be relied upon directly against the MIB. The Court found, applying the principles of the case of VNUK, that the MIB was required to compensate Mr Lewis under the European Directive.

European Law has benefited an innocent victim of a road traffic accident, who would otherwise have gone uncompensated for his life-changing injuries, and is an example of a law that will need to be carefully considered as part of the withdrawal from the EU. There are countless other laws which require due consideration.