In a decision which is bound to cause consternation in the motor insurance industry, the Court of Appeal has overturned the UK’s long-standing ban on compensation being paid to those who are injured whilst being carried in vehicles which they know, or ought to know, are being used in the course of or furtherance of crime.
When a young man was pulled out of a crashed car in which he was a passenger, a large block of cannabis fell from his jacket. The Motor Insurers' Bureau, the industry body which compensates victims of uninsured drivers, invoked the ‘crime exception’ and refused him a payout for his serious injuries on the basis that he was a drug dealer.
In upholding the man’s claim against the Department for Transport (DfT), a judge found that the exception conflicted with the Motor Insurance Directive and that the Government’s failure to accurately transpose the EU legislation into domestic law was serious and inexcusable. The Court could detect no error of law in the judge’s decision and dismissed the DfT’s appeal. The amount of damages payable by the DfT is likely to be in seven figures given the severity of the man’s injuries.