You may have suffered personal injury as a result of an accident at work or a road traffic accident. In order to make a successful compensation claim, you must prove that the accident was caused by the negligence of another individual or company. Therefore, if you have been involved in an accident that was entirely your fault, it is unlikely that you will be able to make a claim. 

However, it could be the case that more than one person is responsible for causing the accident. If you think that the accident can be attributed to the actions of yourself and others and you are only partly to blame, it may still be possible to bring a claim in personal injury. In these circumstances, fault can be shared between the parties through the legal principle contributory negligence. 

What is contributory negligence?

Contributory negligence is a common principle that comes into play when determining liability in personal injury cases. It is often used as a defence strategy by the Defendants who will argue that the Claimant was also at fault. It basically means that if an individual is found to have contributed to their own injury or damages, their compensation can be reduced. It is like sharing the blame. An agreement to apportion liability can be made between the parties or if this is not possible, the Judge will review the evidence and decide what (if any) split in liability is appropriate in the case.  

What is contributory negligence?

How will contributory negligence affect my claim?

If contributory negligence is successfully argued, the Court will deduct a percentage of the Claimant’s compensation. The amount deducted depends on what the Court considers reasonable. 

A good example of contributory negligence in practice is where a Claimant involved in a road traffic accident has failed to wear a seatbelt. The precedent is that the Court will deduct 25% of damages if it is agreed that the Claimant would not have suffered any injury had they been wearing their seatbelt. If it is agreed that although the Claimant would still have suffered an injury if they were wearing a seatbelt, the injury would have been less severe, then the Court will deduct 15% of damages. 

How do I know if the accident was my fault?

Sometimes liability for an accident is clear from the circumstances themselves. However, in many cases it may not be obvious to you who is at fault or whether a claim can be made. The principles governing personal injury claims can be complex and you should contact a solicitor for advice if you are not sure whether a claim can be pursued in your particular circumstances. 

Can I make a claim for an accident that was partially my fault?

How can Tilly Bailey & Irvine's Personal Injury team help?

Tilly Bailey & Irvine's North East Solicitors in Hartlepool, Wynyard, Stockton-on-Tees, and Barnard Castle have the specialist knowledge and experience to support your claim.

Please contact our specialist team on 01429 225200 for further advice if you have been injured.  

Call: 01429 225200