MIB calls for consistent application of law for damages

On the 12th and 13th July, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Moreno (respondent) v MIB (appellant).

In 2011, Ms Tiffany Moreno, a UK resident from Wales, was involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in Greece, whilst on holiday. The uninsured driver was responsible for the accident in which Ms Moreno suffered serious injuries.

MIB’s role as the UK Compensation Body has been to handle Ms Moreno’s claim and act on behalf of the Greek Guarantee Fund (GGF), the Greek equivalent of MIB. This system means that a victim of an accident abroad does not have to pursue a claim directly with a foreign organisation.

As directed by the GGF, MIB accepted it had a liability to pay. Ms Moreno brought proceedings against MIB, claiming that damages should be assessed according to English law.  MIB argued that the compensation should be assessed according to Greek law.  The case came to the High Court in April 2015 which found that English law should apply. 

The case was granted a leapfrog certificate by the High Court so that the issue about which law should apply, could be heard in the Supreme Court without going through the Court of Appeal first.

In the Supreme Court, MIB will argue that damages should be assessed according to the law in the country where the accident happened in just the same way as they would be if the accident was caused by an insured driver.  Ms Moreno argues that as the claim is being made against MIB (because the driver was uninsured) English law should be applied to the assessment of damages.  The argument is in relation to the interpretation of the UK Regulations enabling MIB to deal with these cases.

Ashton West OBE, Chief Executive at MIB said: “Ms Moreno has been the unfortunate victim of a serious accident abroad. We are here to help all 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.

“Ms Moreno is entitled to damages for her injuries. However, the issue is about paying the right amount of damages. As this relates to events which occurred in Greece, everything surrounding the claim should be treated under Greek law. Ultimately the GGF will be paying this claim and will rightly expect to pay on the same basis as it does for any other claim in Greece.

“It is not right that the law of the country in which damage occurred is overlooked in favour of another country just because the level of damages that would be awarded in the other country are higher.

“This case could result in MIB paying out more by way of damages than would be paid in the country where the accident occurred. The problem this creates is that when MIB seeks to recover those funds from Greece, MIB may only be reimbursed the value that would have been paid in damages under Greek law. 

“Effectively this leaves MIB, or put it another way UK motorists, having to foot the bill for the shortfall.”