Can I make a claim for an accident if I was at fault?
In order to make a successful personal injury compensation claim, you need to be able to prove that the accident was caused due the negligence of another person or company. It is therefore not possible to make a claim if you were entirely at fault for causing the accident.
If you were partly at fault for causing the accident, then you may be eligible to make a claim. This is known as split liability or contributory negligence.
What is classed as split liability?
If both parties involved in an accident are found to be at fault for causing the accident, the case may settle on a ‘split liability’ basis. This is when each party is compensated in accordance with the percentage that they were at fault.
Split liability can often be the outcome for settling car accident claims. For example, if you are involved in a collision with another vehicle, you could be found to be partly at fault. Or have contributed to the injuries and damages caused, if you were found to be driving too fast, have failed to indicate properly, or have been manoeuvring your vehicle without properly looking etc.
Liability is split proportionately according to the level of blame each party is responsible for in causing the accident. If liability is split 50/50, each party is found to be equally to blame for their actions in causing the accident. If the case was worth £10,000, then each party would receive £5000 each in their compensation settlement.
Who decides the proportion of split liability?
The solicitor representing you will come to an agreement on the proportion of the split with the third parties insurer. If both sides fail to come to an agreement, the claim will go to court and a judge will decide on how the proportion of liability will be split.
What are examples of split liability?
Common examples of split liability cases in relation to road traffic accidents include:
• Emerging from a side road
• Turning right whilst being overtaken
• Misleading signalling
• Rear end crashes and sudden braking
• Excessive speed
• Not wearing a seat belt
• Collisions on narrow road
• Intoxication i.e. getting into a car when you are aware that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How to know who is to blame for the accident?
It is not always clear cut who is responsible, or who is proportionately more to blame for causing the accident. The laws and case law that are used to determine liability are often very complex, it is therefore advisable to seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor when looking to make a claim for a road traffic accident when you were partly at fault.
A solicitor will examine all of the evidence involved in supporting road traffic accident claims to determine who was at fault and how to appropriately proportion liability.