Can I Make A Claim For Personal Injury Against A Learner Driver?
Posted on 26th May 2020
In our Personal Injury Claim Solicitors in Lancaster’s previous blog, we discussed legal age milestones and how old you need to be to instruct our expert team (which you can read about, here). Another big milestone which many non-drivers in England and Wales will be waiting for is the day that you can start learning to drive.
However, before you reach that big day, or if you have children who are starting to get to that age, make sure you understand the laws of the road, making claims against, or as, a learner driver and under what conditions any learner driving should take place.
How old do you need to be to learn to drive?
Anybody applying for their provisional driving licence must be at least 15 years and 9 months old, although you will not be able to start driving a car until you’re 17 (unless you are in receipt of, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment [PIP], in which case you can start driving at 16).
If you want to apply for your provisional driving licence, you can find out how on the gov.uk website, here.
General rules for learning to drive
First of all, you must have a provisional driving licence either for Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
Until you pass your test and receive your full licence, you must not drive a car without the required supervision (which you can read about in more detail, below).
Your car must display ‘L’ plates. These must be in full view on the front and back of the vehicle you’re learning to drive in, so they can be easily seen by other road users. In Wales, a ‘D’ plate can be used instead.
Whether you’re using an ‘L’ or ‘D’ plate, it must be in an approved format: a white background with a red L or D on, in the correct size. Our Lancaster Solicitors were surprised to discover that many people were not aware that failure to correctly display these plates could lead to 6 penalty points on your licence, so it’s important to make sure that they are!
Are there restrictions on what times of day I can drive?
No. Like all other road users, learner drivers can drive at any time of the day or night, providing that they comply with all other rules.
Can learner drivers drive on the motorway?
Before 4th June 2018, it was illegal for learner drivers to drive on the motorway whatsoever.
However, following a change in the law, learner drives can now practice on the motorway in England, Wales and Scotland. They must be accompanied by an approved, qualified driving instructor (not a trainee driving instructor) and driving in a car with fitted dual controls.
This will ensure that the learner has adequate supervision, and the driving instructor is able to control the car, if they are required to do so.
It’s important to note that this change in the law only applies to learner drivers, and not motorcyclist learners.
Will motorway driving be on my driving test?
Even though the change was introduced which allows motorway driving for learners, motorway lessons as a learner are not compulsory, and it will be up to the discretion of both the learner driver and the instructor as to whether they do these.
Therefore, no change was made to the driving test itself, in case some learner drivers decided not to have these lessons.
Do I have to pay for driving lessons?
You don’t have to pay for driving lessons. For example, if you have previous driving experience when you take your test (say if your family members or friends have been teaching you to drive), you may not need lessons.
If you decide that you do need lessons (Hope Jordan from our team of Lancaster solicitors had over 30 hours of lessons prior to taking her test, just to make sure she was fully prepared), you can use the gov.uk website to search for an instructor. Anybody who you are paying to teach you to drive must be either a qualified and approved driving instructor, also known as an ADI, or a trainee driving instructor.
How much will it cost to learn to drive?
There is no minimum or maximum cost which driving instructors must stick to, so it’s always best to make enquiries with a few different instructors, and find one that you can afford and who you are comfortable with. The total cost will depend how many lessons you have and how much it costs per lesson.
Can I practise my driving with friends and family?
Anyone who you practise learning to drive with (if you’re not paying them) must meet all of the following criteria:
• They must be over the age of 21 (unless their insurance specifies a higher age, such as 25).
• They must be qualified to drive the type of vehicle that you’re learning to drive in (for example, if it’s a manual car they are supervising, they must be able to drive a manual car on their own licence).
• The supervisor must have held their driving licence for a minimum of 3 years (if they are from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein).
Do I need to be insured in a car if I’m driving on private property?
A very common misconception that our Lancaster solicitors have been made aware of is that if you’re driving on private land with a provisional licence, then you don’t need to be insured.
If you’re driving on private land with no public access, this could be true. If you’re driving on private land which the public can access, you must have sufficient insurance, and you must be supervised, just like any other provisional license holder.
If I’m injured in a road traffic accident and I’m a learner driver, can I still make a claim?
Can I make a claim for personal injury against a learner driver?
Due to the level of supervision required for learner driving, they could be seen as one of the safest types of drivers on the road; however, accidents do happen, and it’s important to know that you can make a claim against a learner driver.
Learner drivers owe the same level of duty of care towards other road users as a driver who has passed their test, even if it’s only their first time behind the wheel of a car. The fact that they are only learning has no relevance in determining their liability for injury caused to someone else in an accident where the learner is at fault.
In the case of Nettleship v Watson  helped to establish this principle. A learner driver crashed into a lamppost, which injured the person who was supervising her. The Court of Appeal ruled that all drivers must meet the standards of a “reasonably competent, qualified driver.” regardless of how much experience they have.
What this case shows us is that learner drivers are held to the same standards as other road users and, therefore, a claim for personal injury compensation can be made against them if they fail to meet the necessary competency of a driver, causing injury to another road user.
All learner drivers should be insured, either through their driving instructor, or privately if they are learning with a family member or friend. Like with any uninsured drivers (learner or qualified), a claim can be made against the Motor Insurance Bureau if no insurance is held by the learner.
How do I make an injury compensation claim against a learner driver?
Firstly, it is imperative that you take the details of the learner driver you feel is to blame for the traffic accident. Make a note of the at fault party’s registration number, and, if they have them to hand, details of their insurers. If you can, take pictures of the vehicles in situ, including pictures of the road markings, and surrounding area. You can contact our expert Personal Injury Solicitors in Lancaster online, here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling with your injury compensation claim.
Our team are available from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm, and will give you a call back within one working hour.
Alternatively, pop into your local office or give us a call to discuss your claim further.
Why choose MG Legal?
MG Legal’s Personal Injury Solicitors are experts in successfully settling injury compensation claims, and have a success rate of over 99%. Our team, on average, obtain higher compensation for our clients, and our Personal Injury team have over 30 years’ combined experience in settling injury compensation claims. Our reviews speak for themselves (you can read them, here).
At MG Legal, we put our clients first, and we’re here to help you through your Personal Injury Compensation Claim every step of the way.
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