An elderly hit-and-run victim is attempting to take the Government to the European Court of Justice because he claims he was unfairly compensated by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

Sam Evans, 70, of Illford, Essex, was struck by a car on Christmas Day 1991.

He suffered serious injuries and substantial loss of earnings because of the accident and he was awarded £45,000 compensation which he did not receive until six years later in 1997.

He is now claiming the interest on the money. If successful, his solicitor says, other similar cases would cost more than £50 million in retrospective non-payments from 1988.

MIB is the shared pool for motor insurers, which pays insurance claims where the guilty party in an accident either does not have insurance or fails to stop and cannot be traced.

The bureau comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transport.

When the claim was passed to the MIB, the bureau made an arbitrary award of £50,000 but did not back-date interest from when the accident occurred or when the claim was initiated.

Evans then used the MIB's adjudication procedure to appeal. However, the adjudicator, a QC appointed by the Lord Chancellor, found that the initial award was too high and reduced it by £5,000 to £45,000. Again interest payments were not awarded.

Following that rejection, Mr Evans then tried to sue the MIB in the high court. His case against the MIB failed and so too did a case that was lodged with the Court of Appeal.

Mr Evans' solicitors, Joseph Aaron, are now taking his case to the high court to get his case, now against the Department of Transport, to the European Court of Justice.

He is claiming that the MIB should have to pay costs and interest in all cases.

Senior partner Joseph Aaron said: "Victims of hit-and-run accidents should not be discriminated against. The only factor stopping them getting full compensation is the criminal act of failing to stop after an accident."

MIB claims manager Roger Snook said: "Behind this is a point of policy or a matter of principle that someone believes is worth pursuing.

"The sad thing about this, from Mr Evans' point of view, is that had he taken the £50,000 in the first instance he would have been much better off."