By: 12 July 2016
MIB calls for consistent application of law for damages in foreign motor accident claims involving uninsured drivers

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is to urge the Supreme Court that damages for an accident caused by an uninsured driver abroad should be assessed according to the law in the country where the accident happened.

The MIB says that claims involving uninsured drivers should be treated in the same way as they would be if the accident was caused by an insured driver and will make its argument at the Supreme Court on 12 and 13 July in the case of Moreno v MIB.

In 2011, Ms Tiffany Moreno, a UK resident, was involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in Greece in which she suffered serious injuries.

MIB’s role as the UK Compensation Body has been to handle Ms Moreno’s claim and act on behalf of the Greek Guarantee Fund (GGF), the Greek equivalent of MIB. This system means that a victim of an accident abroad does not have to pursue a claim directly with a foreign organisation.

As directed by the GGF, MIB accepted it had a liability to pay. Ms Moreno brought proceedings against MIB, claiming that damages should be assessed according to English law.  MIB argued that the compensation should be assessed according to Greek law. The case came to the High Court in April 2015 which found that English law should apply.

The case was granted a leapfrog certificate by the High Court so it could be heard in the Supreme Court without going through the Court of Appeal first.

Ms Moreno argues that as the claim is being made against MIB, English law should be applied to the assessment of damages.

Ashton West OBE, chief executive at MIB said: “Ms Moreno has been the unfortunate victim of a serious accident abroad. We are here to help all UK residents with their claims for compensation while at the same time protecting the interests of UK motorists, who ultimately provide the funds on which we rely.”

He said that the GGF would “rightly” expect to pay the claim on the same basis as it did for any other claim in Greece.

“It is not right that the law of the country in which damage occurred is overlooked in favour of another country just because the level of damages that would be awarded in the other country are higher,” said West.

“This case could result in MIB paying out more by way of damages than would be paid in the country where the accident occurred. The problem this creates is that when MIB seeks to recover those funds from Greece, MIB may only be reimbursed the value that would have been paid in damages under Greek law.

“Effectively this leaves MIB, or put it another way UK motorists, having to foot the bill for the shortfall,” he added.