Can I Claim Compensation If I Am Partly To Blame For An Accident?
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and you feel you may have been partly to blame for the accident, you may be wondering whether you can still claim compensation for your injuries or whether you should simply try and put the whole incident behind you without obtaining legal advice.
Quite often it is a combination of circumstances that lead to vehicles colliding and accidents occurring. For example, in a two car accident, one driver may have been driving too quickly and without paying adequate attention to other road users, while the other driver may have pulled out without properly checking it was safe to do so and without properly assessing the risks. Under these circumstances, blame for the accident may be apportioned, for example, on a 60/40% basis between the drivers.
If you have sustained injuries in similar circumstances your insurance company or solicitor will assess the circumstances of the accident and will negotiate will the other party’s legal representative as to how to apportion the blame. If this cannot be agreed between the parties (and witnesses will be useful here) then it may be necessary for court proceedings to be issued and for a judge to decide how responsibility for the accident should be apportioned.
If you are found to be, for example, 40% to blame for the accident you may still be awarded compensation but this may well reduced. For example, your claim for compensation will be assessed in the usual way – usually by obtaining a medical report and comparing your injuries to those of Claimants who have suffered similar injuries and who’s cases have already been settled – and negotiations will take place between your solicitor or insurance company and the other party’s legal representative to agree on how much your claim would be worth if you had not been at all responsible for the accident. It is usually the case that, if, as in the scenario above you are found to have been 40% responsible for the accident, the damages you receive will be reduced by 40% to reflect the fact you were partly to blame for causing your injuries. Therefore a claim that may have been worth £2,500 had you not been at all responsible for the accident, may equate to a £1,500 payout if you are found to have been 40% responsible.
If you do find yourself in a position where you are suffering from a whiplash injury – or any other injury – after seeking medical advice it is important that, even if you do think you were partly to blame for the accident, you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you wish to make a claim. Even if you are found to be ‘contributory negligent’ – i.e. you have partly contributed the accident which caused your injuries - you may still be entitled to compensation.
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