18 October 2010
Rochdale Nightclub Hit and Run: Pedestrian Road Traffic Accident
It is fortunately a rare occurrence for an accident to occur where a car mounts a pavement and injures a group of pedestrians. It is perhaps surprising given the number of cars on the road that this does not occur more often. People forget generally what a lethal weapon a car can be.I note with some concern that exactly this happened over the weekend where apparently 23 people were injured, 2 seriously, when a car was driven at door staff, striking pedestrians at a bar in Rochdale early on Sunday morning. There is some suggestion the occupants of the car had previously not been allowed entry to the night-club. It would appear that one of the two men thought to be in the vehicle at the time, has been arrested. It is not clear whether this was the driver, whether this man has confessed to being the driver and whether he will be charged accordingly.The Motor Insurers Bureau, which I have commented upon recently, is an organisation which was set up some years ago and which is paid into by insurance companies and therefore have very healthy funds. The Motor Insurers Bureau enables those people who have been injured in road traffic accidents to be represented where the person who caused the accident has not been identified, where they have driven away after an accident or indeed where they are not insured.For a claim to be made under the Untraced Drivers Agreement the police must be notified of the claim within 14 days of the road traffic accident and therefore speed is of the essence. The whole purpose of this is to enable the police to make appropriate enquiries and to see whether the driver can ultimately be traced and for a claim therefore to be made against appropriate insurers.For a claim submitted to the Motor Insurers Bureau where the driver has been identified but there is no valid policy of insurance on the vehicle concerned the claim will proceed in the normal way as it would do if there were third party insurers. Legal proceedings must be commenced within three years from the accident date. However, care should always be taken in such a claim as appropriate notice must be given to the Motor Insurers Bureau and papers served in accordance with the MIB Agreement. It is important therefore this claim is not left until the very last moment.It is increasingly unusual however, for vehicles to be driven without insurance. Police Forces are across the country taking the view that if a check on a vehicle indicates the vehicle is not insured, the vehicle will immediately be impounded.If the vehicle therefore involved in the accident in Rochdale over the weekend had a valid policy of insurance (and a claim can quickly be made either by the internet and the MIDIS database or alternatively, the police will of course be making enquiries), the claim will be made against the insurers who are obliged to indemnify their insured. The provisions of the Road Traffic Act requires that the insurers indemnify appropriately and therefore if for arguments sake the vehicle used in the Rochdale incident was stolen, the insurers for the vehicle namely the owners insurers will still be held accountable, the claim being brought as a Road Traffic Act claim.It is important insofar as it is possible, to always identify the driver of the vehicle involved. One of the occupants of the vehicle appears to have been arrested. It is not clear whether this person was the driver. Even if it does not subsequently become clear whether this person drove the vehicle or another party in the car, a claim is still brought to the appropriate insurers, the argument being one of joint enterprise namely that both the driver and the occupants are responsible since they were both involved in the same enterprise, in this case ploughing into a pavement full of pedestrians since they appear to have been refused entry into a nightclub.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.
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