LEGAL CORNER: EU ruling on motor insurance could work in your favour

The case of Damijan Vnuk v Zavaroualnica Triglav represents an important decision by the European Court which widens the liability of motor insurers, the Motor Insurers Bureau (to whom a claim can be made where no insurance exists) and, ultimately, the UK government in respect of motor claims.

The decision means that UK motor insurance legislation is inconsistent with EU law and potentially means that a large number of motor accident claims which were previously rejected might now succeed.

The Vnuk case originated in Slovenia.

The accident involved a farm vehicle reversing and knocking a worker from a ladder in a farmyard.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) was asked to look at the rules requiring compulsory motor insurance cover in European states, and whether it was wide enough.

The ECJ concluded that the required third party insurance cover extends to cover any accident caused by the use of a vehicle that is consistent with the normal function of that vehicle, being used anywhere, whether public or private land.

Historically, UK law has required compulsory motor insurance only in respect of use of a motor vehicle on a road or in a public place.

This meant that people involved in accidents on private land, or with vehicles not intended for use on public roads (like some diggers and tractors), may have been unable to make claims for compensation.

Importantly, the ECJ’s decision impacts historic cases. The ECJ concluded that this wider scope actually applied across the EU for many years, to include the UK.

This means old cases which were previously unsuccessful should be reconsidered.

We have already contacted a client whose claim was recently rejected by the Motor Insurers Bureau (where the vehicle was uninsured) because the incident took place on private land. The claim is now being pursued once again.

We are able to assist injured parties who have had their claims rejected because the accident did not occur on a road or in a public place, or because of the nature or construction of the vehicle.

If you have suffered an injury following an accident away from a road or public place and your ~claim was rejected for the above reasons, then we would be pleased to investigate the circumstances for you.

It may be that this important case allows you to bring the claim again.