Say Alice was in an accident with Bob that was 100% Bobs fault. At the scene email addresses and vehicle registration number plates were exchanged, and in later email exchanges the insurance details were exchanged. However Bob refused to provide their physical address, despite multiple requests including links to the government website detailing this requirement, apparently as a result of advice from their insurance company. After a month of exchanging out of court settlement offers with the insurance company Alice wants to initiate a court claim for money for the cost of the vehicle. However this seems to require "a postal address in England or Wales". What is the best course of action for Alice in this situation? Options appear to include:

  • Use the vehicle registration number plate to request information about a vehicles registered keeper from DVLA.
    • Pro: Only costs £2-50, will not obviously cause problems for the defendant
    • Con: Likely to take some time, possible to cause problems for the defendant
  • Report the lack of provision of address to police
    • Pro: No cost to claimant
    • Con: Likely to take some time, may well cause problems for the defendant
  • Use the insurance company address in the form
    • Pro: Easy
    • Con: Probably would not work (as I understand it, the claimant has no relationship with the insurance company, only the actual driver)
  • Make a claim using a paper form, either N1 or N510
    • I am not sure of the consequences of this, but likely higher fees and more time, possible to cause problems for the defendant

This must happen quite frequently, what is the usual and/or best response in this situation? Alice would like to avoid problems for Bob, as it appears they have been poorly advised by their insurance company as to their responsibilities. Mostly Alice cares about the easiest and cheapest solution.

  • 1
    Why would the individual (Alice) be claiming directly again the individual (Bob), the claim would usually be handled by the insurers.
    – Alex
    Jul 21, 2022 at 10:37
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    The insurers have not offered an out of court settlement that Alice is able to accept, and have not accepted any of Alice's settlement offers. This negotiation has been going on for a month without any progress, so Alice feels that the time to start formal proceedings. Her understanding is that the case must be filled against the individual Bob as she does not have a case against the insurance company. If this is incorrect it would be great, and option 3 would be this.
    – User65535
    Jul 21, 2022 at 10:47
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    As Bob's behaviour seems contrary to s172(2) RTA and inconveniencing Alice, it's unclear to me why Alice wants to avoid problems for Bob. Anyway have you tried asking contactocmc at justice.gov.uk?
    – Lag
    Jul 21, 2022 at 12:40
  • @Lag "it's unclear to me why Alice wants to avoid problems for Bob". Alice likes to avoid problems for everyone, because the world is better that way. If the only solution is to cause problems or give up the case then Alice is willing to cause them. Alice has not tried that email.
    – User65535
    Jul 21, 2022 at 12:49
  • It wouldn't be uncommon in the U.S. to retain a private investigator to sleuth out this information for you, probably for a quite modest charge and sometimes on a success only basis.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 21, 2022 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


Use the vehicle registration number plate to request information about a vehicles registered keeper from DVLA.

Since setting this in motion doesn't adversely affect anything else it's worth doing immediately. It might turn out to be unnecessary but given the glacial speed that DVLA operate at it's better to get the wheels in motion sooner rather than later.

Report the lack of provision of address to police

Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 has this to say on the subject:

The driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle must stop and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his name and address and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle.

So assuming Bob was driving a vehicle involved in an accident with Alice's vehicle, thus Alice is someone "having reasonable grounds" for requiring Bob's name (and crucially in this case address). Failing that they must report the accident to the Police (either directly to a Constable, at a police station or via 101) and provide these details. If they don't do either of these things then it's a criminal offence and one that can carry quite severe penalties

Since Bob hasn't provided their address then Alice can ring 101, and giving the details of the accident (date & time, registration numbers of the vehicles etc) ask if the required info has been provided to them. If Bob has done what the law requires of them then the Police can furnish the details to Alice and she can then file the necessary paperwork.

On the other hand if Bob hasn't done this.. well, in that case Bob's been playing stupid games and we all know what prizes that wins you.

NB: I'd be extremely surprised if the insurer was actually advising Bob to withhold their address, given it's in direct contravention of the law for them to do so and, morally grey as some players in the insurance industry might be at times they're usually smarter than to go around advising their clients to break the law.

Use the insurance company address in the form

This probably won't work - the insurance company are not who Alice is suing and that might complicate matters. From experience the court claim has to be made against the other driver not their insurer - even where it's the insurer who handles/responds to the suit they're doing so on behalf of their customer not as themselves.

Make a claim using a paper form, either N1 or N510

I don't think is applicable here - this is intended for when the defendant's address is outside England & Wales not where you don't know their address.


All of the above

When you initiate a legal claim, you don’t screw around. You blow your opponent out of the water.

No mercy. No wiggle room.

  • O.K., I'm a bit of a naval geek. Do you know what class of ship is in the picture? (I assume it has to be pretty old since very few new naval ships of that size have so many guns and so few missiles.)
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 21, 2022 at 16:49
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    @ohwilleke According to a reverse image search that is the USS Iowa (BB-61). And it is the lead ship of the Iowa class battleships
    – Peter M
    Jul 21, 2022 at 18:39
  • @PeterM Thanks. Makes sense. The first was commissioned in 1943.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 21, 2022 at 19:17
  • 1
    @ohwilleke I've toured the Wisconsin, and also years ago did work to help turn the Missouri into the museum in Hawaii
    – Peter M
    Jul 21, 2022 at 21:51

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