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What happens if they do a runner?

I had a close shave last week which has been playing on my mind. It was shocking to me. A car pulled across my path from a junction and the driver didn’t even seem to realise what he had done. I managed to brake hard enough to avoid hitting the car, but I nearly lost control as I was braking. What would have happened if I had crashed and was injured and if he drove off without stopping?

Rita, by e-mail



This would depend on whether you could trace the driver.

If they were traceable, for example via CCTV then you would be able to bring a claim for compensation against the driver’s insurer. If they were not traceable you would have been able to seek compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which compensates the victims of untraced drivers.

People usually think that there needs to be contact between two vehicles in order for liability to be established, but the reality is that it just needs to be any negligent driving causing an accident.

Once you have established negligence then the lack of contact doesn’t matter and once someone has caused a hazard through negligence, then the court will give you some leeway as to how you responded. This is called “the agony of the moment” and as long as your actions were reasonable then you won’t be held responsible even if in hindsight there was something better you could have done, such as swerving instead of braking.

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