Uninsured drivers who are responsible for road traffic accidents face the prospect of being pursued for substantial costs, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has announced. Punishment terms facing the uninsured drivers responsible include having their assets or vehicles seized by a sheriff, mandatory debt repayments, bankruptcy proceedings, the mandatory sale of their home and even imprisonment.
Outlining their new recovery strategy Holding to Account – Reinforcing the MIBI’s recovery strategy, the MIBI confirmed that they plan to ramp up their debt recovery against uninsured drivers who are at fault for accidents. Over the next 4 years the MIBI anticipates this approach will raise €4 million from uninsured drivers.
The MIBI is a not for profit organisation that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.
Where an uninsured driver has been guilty of causing an accident and injuries, the costs of these claims are settled by the MIBI. The MIBI then has the authority to pursue the guilty parties to reclaim those damages and they now plan on utilising this mechanism more intensively.
The full list of recovery options available to the MIBI under this strategy include:
- Committal Order, if the debtor fails to repay the debt in instalments as set out by the courts, this can lead to the debtor being arrested for failure to engage with the proceedings and imprisoned.
- Judgment Mortgage, where the debt is placed against property (such as a house) owned by the uninsured driver and the MIBI could force the sale of the property.
- Utilising the Sheriff to recover the debt by seizing the assets of the uninsured driver, including vehicles.
- Published Judgement, which has a significant impact on the uninsured driver’s credit rating making it difficult for them to secure credit.
- Instalment Orders, which is a court order requiring the uninsured driver to repay the debt in instalments.
- Garnishee Order which allows the MIBI to recover their outlay against any other insurance claim made by the uninsured driver.
- Bankruptcy proceedings which includes the freezing of the uninsured driver’s bank accounts and assets with a view to liquidation until the debt is repaid.
Speaking at the launch of the new Holding to Account strategy document, David Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the MIBI said, “When it comes to uninsured driving the law is clear. It is a criminal offence to drive without insurance and there is no ambiguity to that point. Yet despite this being clearly established in law, the MIBI still receives thousands of claims each year arising out of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured drivers.
"It would seem there is a lack of awareness about all the potential penalties uninsured drivers face. If they are stopped by the Gardaí they face the prospect of criminal prosecution, having their vehicle seized on the spot, a financial fine, five penalty points and an automatic court appearance. On top of that the MIBI wishes to stress that they will also be held liable for the full cost of any damages that arise out of an accident for which they are responsible. That could mean having their home sold, having their vehicles and other assets seized, bankruptcy and potentially even imprisonment.
"While enforcing damage recovery has been part of the legal procedures available to the MIBI, we are now planning on placing a renewed focus on this activity. We believe this will further highlight the civil and criminal penalties uninsured drivers face and we hope, over time, this will discourage the dangerous practice of uninsured driving. We want uninsured drivers to understand that every time they get behind the wheel they are taking a gamble which could jeopardise their freedom and cost them and their families hundreds of thousands of euro if they are involved in an accident,” Mr. Fitzgerald concluded.
About The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)
The MIBI was established in 1955 by an Agreement between the Government and the companies underwriting motor insurance in Ireland for the purpose of compensating victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles. All insurers underwriting motor insurance in Ireland are required to be members of the MIBI. The MIBI is funded entirely by motor insurance companies operating in Ireland and ultimately by premiums paid by all insured motorists.
Further information is available on www.mibi.ie
Notes for Editors:
Please see below some case studies taken from the MIBI Holding to Account document which set out some examples of how the recovery procedures have been implemented in the past.
CASE STUDY 1
After an incident in June 2008 the MIBI paid compensation of circa €60,000 to a passenger who suffered injury whilst travelling in an uninsured vehicle which was involved in a single vehicle accident.
The MIBI appointed a recovery agent to the case, who became aware that the uninsured driver was in the process of selling her house. The debtor was immediately pursued for recovery and a successful judgment was obtained.
This allowed the MIBI to recover the €60,000 paid to the claimant from the proceeds of the sale of the uninsured motorist’s house.
CASE STUDY 2
Following an accident which occurred in May 2002, the MIBI compensated two claimants. The claimants had been travelling in a car which was struck by an uninsured motorist. The total outlay coming to approximately €80,000.
The MIBI immediately appointed a recovery agent to the case. Judgment in favour of the MIBI and against the uninsured driver was secured.
At a later date the uninsured driver was involved in a separate, subsequent accident and made a personal injury claim against an insurer. The MIBI’s recovery agent was aware of the claim and obtained a Garnishee Order meaning any compensation paid out for the subsequent personal injury claim would first go to the MIBI until the uninsured driver’s debt was paid. This allowed the MIBI to successfully recover the full sum of circa €80,000.
CASE STUDY 3
Subsequent to a serious road traffic accident in 1991, the MIBI paid compensation to two claimants, one of whom was a passenger in an uninsured vehicle. The compensation was approximately €1.8 million of which, approximately €1.2 million was paid to the female passenger.
It transpired the driver of the uninsured vehicle was the passenger’s husband and the uninsured vehicle was owned by her daughter – who allowed her father to drive uninsured. Both the uninsured driver and the owner of the vehicle had the ultimate responsibility to reimburse the MIBI for their outlays on this accident.
The female claimant died, without a will, in 2005. Under the terms of the Succession Act, 1965 the husband of the deceased, i.e. the uninsured driver, was entitled to two thirds of her estate including the compensation paid by the MIBI. While her daughter, i.e. the owner of the uninsured vehicle, was entitled to one ninth of her mother (the claimant’s) estate.
The MIBI sought to recover damages from the uninsured parties involved and were able to recover approximately €750,000.
CASE STUDY 4
Arising from an incident in June 2008, the MIBI compensated a claimant who was travelling in a vehicle which was struck by an uninsured motorist. A total of €50,000 was paid.
Judgment in favour of the MIBI and against the uninsured driver was secured.
Through the investigation into the uninsured motorist, it was identified that he was a successful businessman. This was in direct contrast to the information being provided by the uninsured driver.
After numerous court appearances, the MIBI was awarded €29,000 from the enforced sale of two of the uninsured drivers’ vehicles, along with monthly payments of €1,500 until the €50,000 debt is fully satisfied.