Following the case of Vnuk v Triglav in Slovenia in autumn 2014, motor insurance law is set to change in regards to vehicles driven solely on private property which may now need to be covered by motor insurance.
The case saw the claimant, farm worker Mr Vnuk, sustain injury when he fell from a ladder after it was hit by a tractor reversing a trailer into the barn to collect the hay bales that Mr Vnuk was organising. Mr Vnuk sought compensation for his injuries from the driver’s insurers but was unsuccessful. They argued that the tractor was insured for use as a road vehicle, and not as a machine on the farm, as outlined in the European Directive of Motor Insurance. The case was appealed and referred to the European Court of Justice to determine if the duty to insure “the use of vehicles” under European Law was relevant in this instance.
The CJEU ruled motor vehicle “use” covers “any use of a vehicle that is consistent with the normal function of that vehicle”. A tractor manoeuvring on a farm yard was deemed to meet this definition.
In the UK the European Directive is interpreted by the Road Traffic Act 1988. Here it states third party motor insurance is limited to “the use of the vehicle on a road or other public place”. There is no requirement to insure your vehicle if it is used only on private land, such as the tractor on the farm yard in the Vnuk case. Should an accident occur on private land, those injured are excluded from the compensation guarantee.
The ruling by the CJEU means that UK motor insurance law must now implement the new definition and no longer be limited to situations where the vehicle is being used on a road or other public place. There must be a policy of insurance in place to cover any vehicle for any use providing that the use is consistent with the normal function of the vehicle.
If you are an employee, like Mr Vnuk, or a member of the public and have sustained injury by a vehicle on private or public land, our personal injury solicitors can offer you impartial advice and help you seek compensation.
Call us on 0161 624 6811 or use our online contact form and one of our team will get back to you.
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