the personal injury and clinical negligence blog

A collaboration between Rebmark Legal Solutions and 1 Chancery Lane

English RTA Victim Sues MIB for Injuries in Accident Abroad: Applicable Law for Assessment of Damages?



Bloy & Ireson v MIB [2013] LTL (QB, Manchester DR).

This case arose out of a road traffic accident in Lithuania in which the Claimants (the First Claimant, a child, in particular) suffered very serious injuries. The Claimants were UK nationals domiciled in England. The tortfeasor, a Lithuanian national domiciled in Lithuania, was drunk at the time of the accident and was uninsured.

The Claimants brought proceedings in the English Court against the MIB in reliance on regulation 13 of the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003. Under Lithuanian law, the liability of the Lithuanian MIB was limited to €500,000 (an award capped in this way would have left the Claimants very substantially undercompensated). Both the MIB and its Lithuanian counterpart were parties to an agreement signed by the compensation bodies in a number of European countries which aimed to define the obligations of those bodies and ensured that, where a compensation body provided compensation, it could obtain reimbursement from the compensation body local to the accident (the reimbursement available under the agreement was based on the local assessment). The issue was whether the MIB was liable to pay the Claimants compensation under the 2003 Regulations assessed in accordance with Lithuanian or English law. The court was asked to determine a preliminary issue in relation to the defendant MIB's liability to pay compensation to the claimants. It was submitted on the Claimants’ behalf that regulation13(2)(b) of the 2003 Regulations should be given its ordinary and natural meaning with the result that compensation should be assessed as if the accident had occurred in Great Britain and, therefore, with no cap on damages. By contrast, the MIB argued that, on a proper interpretation of regulation13(2)(b) and when considered alongside the European Directives it implemented, the Lithuanian cap on damages should apply. It was held that English law should apply to the assessment of damages and that there was no reason for regulation 13 to be given anything other than its ordinary and natural meaning. While regulation 13 was inconsistent with the agreement that the MIB had with equivalent bodies in Europe, there was nothing in the relevant European legislation that required any different interpretation of the 2003 Regulations. The Court applied the same reasoning as the Court of Appeal in Jacobs v Motor Insurers Bureau [2010] EWCA Civ 1208, [2011] 1 WLR 2609 (a case in which the MIB had obtained permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, but had then abandoned the same before the appeal hearing took place).

Comments are closed