Car crime victim considering selling home after police officer's injury claim
A single mother-of-two and victim of car crime has told of how she may have to sell her home after one of the officers injured during the police chase of those who took her car launched legal proceedings against her.
Tracey Mackin told the BBC Stephen Nolan show her car insurance premiums went from a manageable £47 a month to £170. She feared the legal action could result in her insurance costs rising again and she may be forced to stop driving, potentially losing her jobs and having to sell her home to compensate.
"It's a double blow," she said.
"The officer should be able to claim for his injuries, I'm not disputing that, but just the PSNI should have some way of dealing with this so long as it is not off the victims."
Tracey's car was taken in a creeper-style burglary in west Belfast in October. Chased by police they slowed it with a stinger device. However, it hit a police car and injured officers involved.
At Christmas she received a letter from solicitors for one officer asking her to "admit liability and pay compensation" for his personal injuries and loss.
"I was glad the police treated it so quickly and were able to make arrests, but I didn't think it would come back to bite me like this," she said.
"A police man was injured and then claims off the victims - it's like a double blow."
"This has been devastating. I'm not contesting the injury, but there must be some other way. The PSNI must be able to do something that will not mean the victim has to go through this again."
Tracey, who has two jobs said she struggled to make ends meet as a result of her higher car costs. She said she was told that if the claim is settled and there is no money from those caught stealing the car then it would fall on her resulting in possibly higher insurance premiums.
She said she would be appealing to the Police Ombudsman for help.
"Coming back on the victims like this with letters like this, it's devastating for my home life and finances it has been a nightmare. This came just before Christmas and I don't have the cash to spare," she added.
"I'm concerned I could lose my home. I'm paying a mortgage on my own. If my insurance goes up any more I need a car for my job and if I lose that I'll have to consider putting the house up for sale."
The PSNI has said, like the public, officers are entitled to claim.
“It is important to clarify that officers are not claiming against the victim’s insurance, they are claiming against the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB)," the PSNI said in a statement.
“Any person involved in a collision where the driver of the other vehicle was at fault and was either untraced or uninsured may pursue a claim through the MIB.
“This is a statutory organisation to provide compensation to the victims of uninsured and untraced drivers."
Belfast Telegraph Digital