One of the inaudible e-scooters causing a problem for road users on UK roads

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VNUK – looking forward to turning the clocks back

Michael Wangermann looks at the impact of a European case on insurance premiums and off-road accidents involving vehicles like mobility scooters, eScooters, golf carts and ride-on lawnmowers.

No, VNUK is not a new trendy fashion brand. It is a European legal case which concluded that if a motorised vehicle has compulsory motor insurance, this also covers accidents on private land. The case involved a farmer who was injured when he was knocked off a ladder by a reversing trailer attached to a tractor. The Court decided that he could get compensation from the tractor’s motor insurance although the accident was in a farmyard to which the public had no access.

While the case allowed a severely injured person to claim much needed compensation, it provoked a furious backlash from motor insurers who feared that the expansion of motor insurance to off-road accidents would catch mobility scooters, ride-on lawnmowers and golf carts amongst other things.

With significant pressure on motor insurers to reduce premia in the UK, this could have added to an increase in premia (in region of £5 to £20), something which would not be popular. However with the UK leaving the EU, legislation is currently passing through Parliament which will attempt to turn the clock back to what English law originally permitted ie that compulsory motor insurance would only stretch to where a motor vehicle is ordinarily on the road or where the public had access (eg car parks). Even the EU is however also drafting an amendment to legislation to specifically exclude the need for compulsory insurance from, for example, lawnmowers and mobility scooters.

There will be many who view the forthcoming change as a common sense approach. However it is important to remember that if an accident is caused by a vehicle which could and should have motor insurance, it is also covered by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) if there is no insurance in place. By restricting the application of compulsory motor insurance, it leaves people in a similar situation to Mr Vnuk reliant on employer and public liability insurance and if there isn’t any, there is no similar safety net to the MIB.

However as e-scooters become more popular and the eternal issue on whether pedal bikes ought to be insured in some way, the issue of what should carry insurance and the extent to which the insurance applies to on-road and off-road activities is bound to continue.

How can the Major Trauma Group help?

Major Trauma Group is a network of specialist serious injury law firms, experienced in dealing with claims following major trauma.  We assist clients throughout England and Wales in getting compensation to support their recovery. Our emphasis on early rehabilitation is supported by a medical clinician with rehabilitation expertise, as well as highly experienced independent financial advisers and case managers; all working with you to support your claim.

If you would like a free no-obligation chat with one of our members, please email hello@majortraumagroup.co.uk or call us on 0330 311 2578

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