If you suffered a whiplash injury in an accident that was not your fault – but you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident – can you still make a whiplash claim? Here we explore this question in more detail, helping you understand your legal position.
Claiming for whiplash
Anyone who sustains a whiplash injury in a road traffic accident for which someone else is to blame will be entitled to pursue a whiplash claim. This is because in England and Wales, the law states that people who are harmed through no fault of their own should be put back in the position they were in before the accident occurred.
Of course, physical damage cannot be undone, so instead whiplash victims are awarded financial redress to reflect the pain and suffering they have endured. They also have a legal right to recover any money that has been lost due to the accident, ensuring they are not left out of pocket for the injuries that have been wrongfully sustained.
Claiming for whiplash even if you were not wearing a seatbelt
But what happens if you are partially responsible for your injuries because you were not wearing a seatbelt? This can cause some confusion, because although the accident may definitely not be your fault (for example, if someone drove into the back of you), you will have had a part to play in your whiplash injury. Furthermore, it is a legal requirement that you wear a seatbelt in the UK and in not doing so you will have broken the law.
Nevertheless, you are still able to make a whiplash claim, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt. This is because you have still been injured in an accident which was caused by another party’s negligence. Indeed, your injury would not have happened if it wasn’t for their lack of due care and attention, meaning you are still the innocent victim of personal injury.
However, it cannot be ignored that you contributed towards the severity of your injury, as the extent of your whiplash would have been minimised had you been wearing a seatbelt. This is known as contributory negligence and usually means a compensation settlement is reduced by around 25%.
Get legal advice today
Whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, if you have wrongfully sustained a whiplash injury, you should speak to a solicitor about claiming the whiplash compensation you deserve. For more information, contact us at Loyalty Law. All of our Loyalty Law solicitors are experts in whiplash claims. Complete Loyalty Law’s free online Whiplash Injury Claim Assessment and find out how much you are likely to receive for your whiplash claim.
Author: Nicholas Jervis