Can I make an injury claim if I don’t know who is to blame?

If you have been injured as a result of someone else's actions, you have the legal right to claim compensation. But what happens if you don’t know who is responsible for your injury?

injured woman unsure of who is to blame

How can it be unclear who is responsible?

In the majority of injury cases, it is clear who is either wholly or partly to blame

However, there are occasions when the identity of the party at fault is not known or not clear cut. For example:

  • a hit-and-run accident or
  • the claimant may be partly responsible for the accident or injury e.g. when injured in a car crash when not wearing a seatbelt.

Eligibility to claim

You should be eligible to claim compensation if you sustained an injury or illness:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

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I don’t know who was to blame - can I start a claim?

Yes. You may not know who is liable for your injury but that should not deter you from seeking legal advice.

If you do not know who caused your injuries, starting a claim as soon as possible is of paramount importance. Greater reliance will be placed on eyewitness accounts. The closer these witness accounts are to the time of the accident, the clearer they will be. The court will also view a recent witness testimony as more reliable.

Once you have started your claim, your solicitor will work with you to build an accurate picture of the circumstances surrounding your injury or illness. This process will involve a detailed discussion and completion of various forms.

To identify the defendant and build the most robust possible case, your solicitor will gather evidence from all potential sources, including police reports, eye witness accounts, CCTV recordings, accident reports, and so on.

Once the party at fault has been identified, your case can then proceed.

If following the evidence collation phase, it is still uncertain as to who is liable for your injuries, it may still be possible to make a claim.

What happens if the solicitor cannot identify who is to blame?

Making a successful claim when liability cannot be ascertained will depend on the context of the injury:

Type of injury What happens if you don’t know who to blame
Untraceable driver/Hit and run road accident

If you were injured by another driver who drove away from the scene without leaving their details, a claim could be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraceable drivers. Contributions from car insurance premiums fund the MIB.

You can claim through the MIB as an injured car driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian.

IMPORTANT - you must have reported the accident to the police within 14 days, or you will not be able to make a claim.

You can either claim directly through the MIB or ask your solicitor for assistance.

See: Claiming compensation through the MIB

Criminal injuries

If you are the victim of a violent crime, you may be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), even if the offender is not identified or convicted of the crime.

The CICA is a government agency that has the authority to pay compensation to the innocent victims of crime England, Wales or Scotland. The CICA is funded by public money. The agency pays out compensation claims regardless of whether the person who committed the crime is caught, prosecuted or convicted.

You can either claim directly through the CICA or ask your solicitor for assistance.

See: Making a compensation claim through the CICA

Industrial disease Industrial diseases are often contracted as a result of prolonged exposure which may span many employers. RSI and noise-induced hearing loss are common examples. In these cases, liability may be equally apportioned across all employers where you were exposed to adverse conditions.
Asbestos-related disease

In cases of asbestos-related disease, workers may have been at risk of exposure numerous times during their working life.

Legislation exists to compensate workers affected by asbestos exposure, and their families, in cases where it is not clear which company they were working for when the exposure occurred.

For example, you might have worked for three companies nack to back where you were exposed to asbestos. In this example, it would be impossible to say, in isolation, which the company is responsible. Blame would be apportioned across all three companies and compensation paid by all 3 companies.

Public place accidents

If you were injured in a public place and the accident was not sustained in a work, road or criminal context, the owner of the land may be liable.

The solicitor will endeavour to identify the owner of the land and pursue a claim through them.

If you were assaulted in a public place, then a claim could be pursued through the CICA


Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as 'contributory negligence'), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

See: Can I claim compensation if I was partly responsible for an accident?

Can I claim injury compensation if it was an accident?

People might not claim for an injury they think was an accident. Legally speaking, accidents are rare, and a claim may be possible in any event.

Read more: Can I claim injury compensation if it was an accident?

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will work with you to identify the defendant and build the strongest possible case. We will then fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor