Judgment Means Motor Insurers Bureau Will Now Have To Pay Compensation To Telford Man Who Was Passenger In Car Without Valid Insurance
The High Court has ruled that a UK man left paralysed following a car crash as a passenger can receive compensation to fund his rehabilitation and care despite the Insurers refusing to pay due to the driver’s fraudulent insurance.
Daniel Colley was 19-years-old when he was a passenger in a car which crashed in March 2015 near Telford, Shropshire, leaving him with a spinal cord injury and paralysed from the neck down.
As a father of a young daughter, he instructed serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help secure funds for his specialist rehabilitation, adaptations to a home for him to live independently and the care needs he will now have for the rest of his life.
The driver of the car was convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Shrewsbury Crown Court, on 22 March 2016, but unfortunately for Daniel the driver only had a provisional licence and the Insurers of the car refused to pay any compensation despite his serious injuries because they said he knew the driver wasn’t properly insured.
The case was passed on to the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) which handles cases where there is no valid insurance but they also refused to pay for Daniel’s care and rehabilitation needs.
His case was looking bleak, but following a similar case in Portugal two years after Daniel’s crash, the High Court has now ruled in Daniel’s favour highlighting the fact that EU rules protecting passengers had not been properly implemented into UK law.
The similar case in Portugal was brought before the European Court in 2017 which held that European Insurance Directives to protect a passenger require that innocent passengers should not be penalised where a contract has been taken out by fraud and that they should still be able to bring a case.
However in England the MIB rules for compensating uninsured drivers’ cases denied the Daniel compensation as they said he knew the driver was uninsured. But under European Law, this is not a bar to receiving compensation - only being in a car that is known to be stolen would be.
Irwin Mitchell reviewed the Portuguese case and brought Daniel’s case to the High Court arguing that the Government had failed to implement the European Laws correctly in the Road Traffic Act in England.
Now the High Court has ruled in Daniel’s favour that the MIB has to remedy the Government failure to implement in full a compulsory insurance regime and that Daniel is entitled to enforce his rights under EU law against the MIB which is obliged to compensate him.
Expert Opinion“This is a very technical case which examines EU laws and their implementation in the UK, but the outcome is very important for Daniel as it will give him the opportunity to begin to rebuild his life. He needs a properly adapted home and access to a specialist package of rehabilitation and care.
“The judgment also ensures that passengers of cars who are injured through no fault of their own will be better protected in future. However it’s also worrying that the EU motor insurance directives which provide uniformity, protection and fairness to passengers and accident victims could be abandoned in due course due to Brexit.
“There have been a number of decisions in the Courts of England and Wales over the past years which highlight areas where our government has failed to implement the protective measures as fully as the EU anticipated. So we can imagine that following Brexit some of the additional safeguards that have been forced by EU law may well be lost.” Catherine Leech - Partner
Daniel is currently volunteering as a support worker with a social enterprise called Recharge in Telford which helps assist young people with drug and alcohol problems.
He said: “This is a huge relief as it means that I have assurance from the Courts that I will receive funding for my rehabilitation, treatment and equipment I need to live as independently as possible. I’m currently helped by my parents and a support worker but it’s not sustainable long term.
“The volunteering and work helping others with their problems has really helped me get through the past few years. I’ve done training for mental health awareness and it’s been really positive for me to be able to help people. I just want to get on with my life now and this judgment is the next important step in that process.”