The accident was partly my fault. Can I still claim injury compensation?
Yes. It's a common misconception that being partially to blame for an accident negates any right to compensation. However, the law is more nuanced when making a personal injury claim, and a claim still possible when there is fault on both sides.
We explain how a successful compensation can be made, even when you share a degree of responsibility for the accident,
In this article
How is liability determined when making a personal injury claim?
A key part of any personal injury claim involves a solicitor assessing which party, or parties, were responsible (liable) for the accident or injury.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will collate as much evidence as possible, including eyewitness accounts, physical evidence from the accident scene, expert opinions, and any supporting CCTV or photographic evidence. Your solicitor will need to fully understand the circumstances leading up to your injury, and the actions or negligence of all parties involved.
Sometimes, more than one party can be found liable, in varying degrees, resulting in shared liability (contributory negligence) for the accident.
What is contributory negligence?
'Contributory negligence' is when a claimant's actions or negligence partially contributed to the accident or injuries they sustained.
If the other side (defendant) successfully argues that you didn't take reasonable care for your own safety, thereby contributing to your accident, the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced accordingly. This concept of contributory negligence allows for liability sharing between you and the defendant.
A typical example of contributory negligence is when a driver or passenger is injured in a car accident when not wearing a seatbelt. While the act of not wearing a seatbelt itself won't have caused the accident, it may have worsened the injuries. The claimant's injuries could have been less severe with a seatbelt on.
Another common example is when a cyclist is injured in a collision with a driver when not wearing a helmet. A defendant might still argue that the cyclist contributed to the severity of their own injuries - even though it is not illegal to ride without a helmet.
How much can I claim if I was partly to blame for my injury?
A split liability agreement is a legal settlement where both parties involved in an accident share responsibility. This agreement allows for a fair resolution when both parties have contributed to the accident.
Split liability compensation will be calculated based on the percentage of fault attributed to each party. The compensation awarded to the claimant is then reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if it is agreed that you are 25% at fault for the accident, you would receive 75% of the total compensation you would have otherwise received.
Try our compensation calculator to find out how much you could claim, and how shared responsibility could affect your compensation award.
Do the accident circumstances affect how split liability is handled?
Although the principle of split liability is the same regardless of the circumstances, there can be practical differences when pursuing a claim.
With work claims, for example, employers are more likely to be found fully liable under the principle of vicarious liability.
With road claims, the actions of drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and road conditions must be taken into consideration.
Public liability claims may involve businesses or local authorities, and their duty of care to provide safe public spaces.
Medical negligence claims may hinge on healthcare providers' adherence to standards of care.
Each claim type has its own legal nuances, affecting how liability is apportioned and compensation is calculated.
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Questions about the injury claims process?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:
- How will a personal injury claim affect my benefits?
- Will I have to pay tax on my injury compensation award?
- Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
- Can I claim injury compensation if there were no witnesses?
- Can I make an injury claim if I don't know who's to blame?
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.