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MIB hails Supreme Court ruling over damages for overseas accidents

Supreme Court: overruled Court of Appeal and High Court

Supreme Court: overruled Court of Appeal and High Court

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) has welcomed the clarity provided today by a Supreme Court ruling that damages for a UK resident badly injured by an uninsured driver in Greece should be assessed under Greek law.

The High Court had ruled that Tiffany Moreno should be compensated under English and Welsh law. The case was then leapfrogged to the Supreme Court.

Lord Mance, giving the unanimous ruling [1] of the Supreme Court in also overturning two previous Court of Appeal decisions, noted that while here the claimant’s concern was that Greek law would yield less compensation than English law, in other contexts the reverse might be the case.

“There is, for example, evidence that Irish personal injuries’ damages can be significantly higher than English, and that Italian law can in fatal accident cases award significantly more (and, if relevant, to a broader range of persons) than English law,” he said.

The judge ruled that the underlying European law “proceeds on the basis that a victim’s entitlement to compensation will be measured on a consistent basis, by reference to the law of the state of the accident, whichever of the routes to recovery provided by the directives he or she invokes”. This was effectively transposed into English law by The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003.

MIB chief executive Ashton West said: “The outcome of this case is that the law for damages will now be applied consistently to uninsured and insured cases.

“Nothing changes the fact that Ms Moreno has been the unfortunate victim of a serious accident with an uninsured driver abroad. There is no doubt that she is entitled to damages for her injuries, however, the principle is about using the right law to decide how much to pay Ms Moreno.

“MIB is here to help UK residents with their claims for compensation while at the same time protecting the interests of UK motorists, who ultimately provide the funds on which we rely. As this relates to events which occurred in Greece, everything surrounding the claim should be treated under Greek law.”

The MIB’s role also extends to acting on behalf of its Greek equivalent, the Greek Guarantee Fund (GGF).

Mr West said: “As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, MIB will compensate Ms Moreno on behalf of the GGF and will do so on the same basis as any other claim in Greece. Furthermore a number of MIB cases have been waiting for the outcome of this case. As the law is now clear, these cases can now be resolved.”