Can I claim for whiplash injury compensation if I was partly to blame for the accident?

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and have suffered a whiplash injury but think you may have been partly to blame for the accident you may be wondering whether you are still able to make a claim for whiplash injury compensation. This article addresses this question and also looks at how whiplash injury compensation is calculated and how this calculation may be affected if you are found to be partly liable for the accident.

Apportioning blame for the accident

Road traffic accidents can be caused by a number of reasons and often it is a combination of unfortunate events or misjudgements that lead to an accident. It is not always the case that just one person is to blame for the accident. If you have been involved in an accident for which you are partly at fault your solicitor will liaise with the other side’s legal representative to try and agree on how to apportion blame for the accident between the parties. It may be the case, for example, that you are found to be 30% to blame for the accident in which case you will still be able to pursue a claim for whiplash injury compensation but the amount of money you receive may be reduced (see below).

How is whiplash injury compensation calculated?

Whiplash injury compensation is calculated according to the severity of your injuries and how long you have taken (or are expected to take) to recover. Your solicitor will arrange for you to attend an appointment with a medical expert who will carry out an assessment and will prepare a report detailing your injuries and providing a prognosis for your recovery. Your solicitor will use this report to compare your case to that of Claimants whose cases have previously settled and who have suffered similar injuries to your own and have taken a similar amount of time to recover. Your solicitor will also refer to a book called the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines to assess the value of your claim. The medical report will then be disclosed to the other party’s legal representative and your solicitor will attempt to negotiate settlement of your claim.

How will my compensation be affected if I am found to be partly liable for the accident?

If, as in the example above, you are found to be 30% responsible for the accident then any compensation due to you is likely to be reduced by 30% to reflect your portion of the blame.

Summary

Accident happens for a wide variety of reasons, often with more than one person at fault. If you have suffered a whiplash injury but think that you were partly to blame for the accident it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to maximise your chances of pursuing a successful claim.

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