On the 26th May 2013 the Claimant was driving when she collided with a Nissan Micra. The Claimant’s car was written off and both she and her passengers suffered minor personal injuries. The driver of the Micra did not stop, but its number plate was taken down by a passing driver.
The Micra was registered and insured with Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited (LV). The Claimant therefore issued proceedings against Mr Hussain, believing him to be the driver involved, with the insurance company added as a co-defendant.
At first instance, LV applied for summary judgment on the basis that the Claimant was unable to prove Mr Hussain was the driver. In response, the Claimant sought to amend her claim so as to substitute, for Mr Hussain, the following description: “The person unknown driving vehicle registration number Y598 SPS who collided with vehicle registration number KG03 ZIZ on 26th May 2013”.
The Claimant’s application to amend was dismissed and summary judgment granted, and this position was upheld by HHJ Parker. However, when the case came before the Court of Appeal the majority of the judges found for the Claimant. LV appealed that decision to the Supreme Court to consider whether a Claimant is entitled to bring a claim for damages against an unnamed Defendant when the victim of a hit-and-run collision, when the third party vehicle is covered by an insurance policy.
The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal and reinstated the decision of the District Judge, finding that proceedings cannot be brought against the untraced driver in circumstances that he will never be able to be located or communicated with and therefore his fundamental right to defend himself will be unable to be exercised.
This decision reaffirms the position that the framework for compensating the victims of untraced drivers is through the Motor Insurers Bureau's “Untraced Drivers Agreement” process.