I’ve had a car accident that was my fault: Can I claim compensation?

It’s relatively common knowledge that you can bring a personal injury claim if you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault.

However, even if you believe you may be liable for the accident in question, you may still be able to claim personal injury compensation.

Under what circumstances can I bring a personal injury claim after a car accident?

To get personal injury compensation after a road traffic accident (RTA), you’ll need to be able to prove that another party was:

  • At least partly at fault for the accident
  • Responsible for your injuries resulting from the accident

So, if you were 100% at fault for an accident, you won’t be able to claim personal injury compensation.

However, if you believe another party was at fault, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation, even if you admit to some liability on your part.

That said, it’s always worth remembering the golden rule to never accept any liability at the scene of an RTA, as the other party could potentially use that against you in any subsequent claim.

Let’s examine this question in more detail.

What is a non-fault accident?

A non-fault accident is an RTA for which you were not at fault at all.

While being involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault is the foundation of most personal injury claims, that alone isn’t enough to bring a claim. For example, you would also need to demonstrate that the party responsible owed you a duty of care, in addition to being able to prove what injuries you’ve suffered.

In an RTA, the responsible party will usually be another driver, but it may also be:

  • A local authority, if you lost control of your vehicle and crashed due to a poor road surface or something like a pothole
  • A vulnerable road user, such as a pedestrian or cyclist, who caused the accident due to their own reckless or irresponsible actions

The circumstances behind every accident are different, and while it may be obvious who is at fault for an accident in some situations, in others, it may be less so.

If you’re unsure who is to blame for your accident, it’s worth speaking to a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after speaking to your insurance company.

Can I get compensation if I think I am at fault?

Liability in car accidents isn’t always clear-cut.

If you were partially at fault for an accident, you could still claim compensation for any injuries you suffered.

When you and the other party agree to split liability, your compensation award will generally reduce in line with the liability split. For example, if you agree the accident was “50/50,” you could still bring a compensation claim, but your award would be reduced by 50%.

Considering contributory negligence

Contributory negligence is another factor you might need to consider when bringing a personal injury claim. Contributory negligence is when you fail to take action to reduce your risk of suffering an injury.

For example, in the case of RTAs, you might be guilty of contributory negligence if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. But at the same time, if the accident weren’t your fault, you wouldn’t have been injured if it hadn’t happened.

In these situations, you could still get personal injury compensation, but your award would be reduced in line with any contributory negligence.

If you agreed to split liability 50/50 with another party and there was contributory negligence, your compensation award would be reduced by 50% plus an additional sum to take the contributory negligence into account.

What if it isn’t clear who is to blame?

Sometimes, you might not know who is to blame for your accident and injury.

Rather than talking about cases of disputed liability, we’re referring to accidents where the other driver left the scene without leaving their details.

In these cases, you could still claim personal injury compensation. A personal injury solicitor could help you identify the person responsible if you could gather any details about the vehicle and escalate your case via the Motor Insurers’ Bureau if necessary.

What if I accepted liability at the time of the accident?

Being involved in an RTA can be a significant shock. As such, it’s only natural that you might get out of your car and apologise to the other party because you feel bad that it happened – even if you haven’t thought about it and will later reflect that you weren’t to blame.

However, even apologising at the scene of an accident can be taken as an admittance of liability and might be held against you by the other party. That’s why the best thing to do if you’re involved in an accident is to exchange details and little else.

If you did accept liability in the immediate aftermath of an RTA, that doesn’t necessarily mean you were at fault. You could still prove the other party was at fault and have grounds to bring a personal injury claim.

Get a free, no-obligation review from LawPlus Solicitors

If you’ve been injured in an RTA, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation, even if you think you might have been responsible for the accident.

Contact LawPlus Solicitors for a free, no-obligation review of your case and discover whether you may have grounds to bring a claim.

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