What If The Accident Was Partly My Fault?

Those who suffer a slip, trip or fall often fail to make a claim against the negligent party because they feel that they were partly at fault for the injuries they suffered. This is no reason not to pursue a case, however. Even if you were partly at fault, your claim can still succeed, and you can still receive significant amounts of compensation.

Contributory Negligence

The area of the law with which you should be familiar if you think you are partly at fault is known as ‘contributory negligence’, often shortened to ‘contrib neg’ by practitioners. It is governed by The Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945, the most important part of which is section 1(1). Essentially, it provides that being partly at fault for your injuries will not eliminate your claim for compensation. Instead, the court should allocate such compensation as it thinks is ‘just and equitable’ in the circumstances. The judge has wide-ranging discretion about what precisely this means. He will come to a conclusion about how significantly you were to blame for the injuries in question, and reduce your compensation accordingly.

Material Contribution

It is important to realise that the test applied by the judge in such cases is whether your behaviour materially contributed to your injuries, rather than the accident. This means that in a road accident case, for example, compensation can be reduced for not wearing a seatbelt. Even though not wearing a seatbelt didn’t cause the accident in any way, it did cause the injuries suffered to become worse, and as such is an instance of contributory negligence.


Of course, if your actions were completely unreasonable or unpredictable, your claim might fail. Part of the criteria for establishing a duty of care is foreseeability, as it is not fair to expect a defendant to be able to anticipate any strange behaviour which might be performed on his premises. It is foreseeable that someone might walk along a wet floor and slip over, for example, but it is much less reasonable for someone to climb up a slippery wall for no reason and then fall down!

Allocating Compensation

If the judge does find that you have been contributorily negligent, the damages you receive from the defendant are likely to be reduced in a sensible proportion. The court will not ‘nitpick’ in allocating 51.2% of the damages to you, for example. It is simply impossible for the judge to be that precise in a process which, after all, relies on his subjective decision. The proportion is much more likely to consist of a round figure, such as 50:50 or 75:25. Regardless of the proportion, however, unless you have been totally unreasonable, you are still likely to receive some compensation.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
What If The Accident Was Partly My Fault?, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Know someone that could use this information? Send this page by clicking on the SHARE button below: Bookmark and Share


SIGN UP for a FREE Consultation with a Claims Specialist

Your Name

Your Email

Your Phone Number

Did your accident occur within the last 3 years?

Were you injured because of this accident?

Have you tried to claim for these injuries before?

What category best describes your accident:?

Please Provide a Brief Description of Your Case

Retype the letters into the field below


Accident Victims are Inquiring Aboutr:

  • toe injuries
  • Injury in toe

Leave a Comment

Before you click Submit, solve this math puzzle captcha: *

Previous post:

Next post: