Motor insurance in Ireland is compulsory under the Road Traffic Acts, 1933 and section 56 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961. Every motorist must be insured without limit against personal injury caused by the negligent use of a motor vehicle.
The obligation to insure was extended since July, 2008 to provide cover against property damage of up to €1,000,000 due to the negligent use of a motor vehicle.
However, what happens you if you are the victim of an uninsured driver? Or a driver who cannot be found or traced?
MIBI-The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland
MIBI was set up in 1955 and its purpose is to compensate victims of uninsured motorists. It is funded by the insurance companies in Ireland.
The operation of this scheme of compensation is set out in the MIBI agreements of 1998 and 2004 between the MIBI and the government of Ireland.
While the two agreements are broadly similar, there are significant differences. These differences relate to the notification process and the information which must be provided to MIBI when making a claim.
There are some exclusions in the MIBI agreement as to who may claim for a car accident involving an uninsured or untraced driver but generally an action for compensation for personal injury, material damage, or wrongful death due to the negligent use by an uninsured person can be brought against MIBI by any person.
A mechanically propelled vehicle under the Road traffic Acts can include an electric bicycle/tricycle or a trailer or semi-trailer when used in a public place.
However certain persons are excluded from being able to claim under the 2004 MIBI agreement, chapter 5.
These exclusions include
- Persons who were a driver or passenger who had stolen the vehicle in question or obtained it by violence or threats
- a driver or passenger who had colluded in the theft of the vehicle
- a driver or passenger who knew that the vehicle has been stolen or hijacked or taken without the owner’s consent
- a person who knew or ought to have known that there was no approved policy of insurance in force for the use of the vehicle in which they were injured or suffered damage to property.
- the uninsured user of a vehicle who is in an accident with another uninsured user of a vehicle (passengers in such vehicles can bring a claim provided they are not excluded by virtue of the exclusions above)
The MIBI agreement of 2004 also limits the material damage for which it is liable and will not cover damage caused by an unidentified vehicle.
These exclusions were amended by the 2009 agreement. Now the exclusions are
- where a person enters a vehicle knowing it was stolen or taken by violence and the MIBI can prove the person who enters the vehicle knew;
- where a person enters a vehicle knowing there is no insurance in place for the use of that vehicle and the MIBI can prove the person knew.
Certain conditions must be complied with in order for MIBI to assume liability under the 2004 agreement.
1 a notice of claim must be sent to MIBI indicating that there is an intention to seek compensation from MIBI
2 any accident giving rise to a claim against MIBI must be reported to the Gardai within 2 days of the accident or as soon as possible
3 notice of any legal proceedings must be notified to MIBI before commencement of proceedings
4 the claimant must give the MIBI all material information on demand in connection with the claim
5 the claimant must attempt to discover whether any insurance policy was in place on the vehicle involved in the accident
6 the claimant may be required by MIBI to attend for interview with its authorised agents
The MIBI can require the claimant to take all reasonable steps to obtain compensation from anyone against whom they may have a remedy.
When reaching a settlement with MIBI the claimant must assign all their rights of action against the wrongdoer to MIBI. This allows MIBI to pursue the uninsured driver for sums paid out.
To succeed in a claim against MIBI the claimant must be able to prove that the uninsured or uninsured driver was liable in negligence for the injury suffered by the claimant.
The Supreme Court case of Campbell v O’Donnell and MIBI  makes it clear that before bringing a claim against MIBI for personal injuries must first be processed through the Injuries Board procedure.
Where the owner/user of the uninsured vehicle is known he/she should be sued with the MIBI named as a co-defendant.
Only where the driver/owner is untraced or unknown should MIBI be sued as sole defendant.
MIBI Agreement 2009
MIBI Agreement 2009 supersedes the 2004 agreement and is the agreement in force in 2019.