My injury was my own fault - Can I still make an injury claim?

Man operating dangerous machinery

If you were injured and someone else was to blame, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. In some circumstances, even when you think you are liable for your accident, a compensation claim may still be possible.

Non-Fault Accidents

A non-fault accident is when you are involved or injured in an accident that you played no part in causing.

However, a claim cannot be made purely on the basis that the accident was not your fault. It will also be necessary to establish that:

  • the party at fault owed you a duty of care and
  • your injury happened in the last 3 years (in most cases).

If, for example, you were riding a bicycle and simply lost control, a claim would not be possible as there would be no one to claim against.

If the loss of control occurred as a result of a pothole or defective road surface, however, a claim against the local authority may be possible.

Read more:

Can I make an injury compensation claim?

How do I make an injury claim against a local authority?

If I think I was to blame, can I still get compensation?

Even at the scene of an accident, it is not always obvious who was responsible. Establishing who is (legally) liable for an injury is not always as clear-cut as it might initially seem.

You were partly to blame

In situations where there was fault on both sides, it should still be possible to claim compensation with a 'split liability agreement'.

With a split liability agreement, you (as a claimant) would typically receive a percentage of the compensation you would have otherwise received if the defendant was fully liable.

If a court decides that you were 25% responsible for your injuries, for example, your compensation award would be reduced by 25%.

Vicarious Liability - Can I claim for an accident at work that was my fault?

Vicarious liability is where one party is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another party.

The most common example of vicarious liability is when an employee is injured at work. The injured person may feel that their actions alone resulted in their injury. However, in the workplace, an employer is usually liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, providing it can be shown that the injury occurred in the course of their employment.

Vicarious liability means that the employer is responsible for compensating an injured person if an employee injures someone (or themselves) while doing their job.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is when an injured person failed to take appropriate actions to reduce their risk of injury.

For example, if you were injured in a car accident and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you may feel that your injuries are your own fault. However, if the accident was the fault of someone else, you would not have been injured at all.

The courts recognise this grey area and apply the principle of contributory negligence. It might, for example, be determined that the severity of your injuries would have been halved if you had been wearing a seatbelt. In this example, you would receive 50% of the compensation you would have otherwise been awarded.

It is not clear who is to blame

If you don’t know who caused your injuries, it may still be possible to make a claim - depending on the nature of your injuries and the type of incident that caused them.

A personal injury solicitor will be able to assist with identifying the person responsible where possible. If it is not possible to identify a defendant, your solicitor will advise you on the options for claiming via another route.

With road accidents, the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) exists to compensate people injured by untraceable and uninsured drivers.

If you were injured in a criminal assault and do not know the identity of the assailant, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government agency that has the authority to pay compensation.

I signed a disclaimer

Before participating in activities such as sporting events and exercise classes, you may be asked to sign a disclaimer. However, if the disclaimer attempts to prevent you seek redress from an organisation that has not complied with its legal obligations, the disclaimer may be considered unfair and a claim may still be possible.

Read more:

Can I claim injury compensation if I signed a disclaimer?

You were injured as a child

Accidents involving children are considered differently in a number of ways.

Children are not able to consider risk and danger in the same way as an adult. A child cannot be legally culpable for their actions. What may be deemed just an accident for an adult, may be considered the responsibility of the child carer, nanny, or school.

The 3-year time limit does not apply. If you were under 18 years old when you were injured, you have until your 21st birthday to start a claim.

Read more:

Child injury compensation claims

You accepted the blame at the time, but on reflection, you feel you were not at fault

It is generally held that you should not accept responsibility at the scene of an accident.

Accepting the blame at this early stage could compromise your position if you, or another party, choose to take legal action. If you are involved in an accident, you should simply exchange details and note the facts.

If, however, in the stress and confusion of an accident you do accept liability, you should review what happened in your mind after the event,

If you did accept liability it does not make a claim impossible. Your solicitor will examine all of the evidence and build a case accordingly.

If a car accident was my fault, can I claim personal injury?

If you have been injured in a car accident that was totally your fault, you may not be able to claim compensation. However, if another road user contributed to the accident or to the seriousness of your injuries in some way, you may still be able to claim compensation.

For example, if you changed lanes without indicating, but were hit by a speeding car and sustained serious injuries, you may have grounds to recover some compensation. Any compensation is likely to be reduced, and your eligibility to claim will depend on the facts of the case.

What happened?

The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor