Need to know: can you make a personal injury claim if you were partly to blame?

Posted May 07, 2020.

Personal injury claims that succeed – that is, results in a payment of compensation – do not always have to be 100% the fault of another person or party’s negligence. Whether you have been injured at work, whilst out shopping, in a road traffic accident or indeed in any other scenario, it may still be possible to claim for compensation that you are entitled to even if you are partly to blame.

Liability and Contributory Negligence

Under English and Welsh Law, one of the most important parts of a personal injury claim is who is liable for the injury or illness suffered. In legal terms, liability means ‘responsible or answerable in law; legally obligated.’ In other words, if someone is held liable for something, they are to blame. Establishing such liability is fairly straightforward in some claims, but can be more involved in others, requiring additional evidence and investigation. I certain claims, it may be found by the courts that blame can be apportioned to both sides, which is known as ‘contributory negligence’. In such cases, contributory negligence and therefore who is mainly to blame is decided on a percentage ratio basis. For example, a court may decide that the claimant who is making the claim is 25% liable, whilst the defendant is 75% liable.

Whilst applicable to all types of claims, contributory negligence decisions can be more common following road traffic accidents. We are all encouraged by our car and vehicle insurance companies to not admit liability at the scene of an accident we have been involved in. Sometimes, an individual may accept liability at the scene, but deny liability later, which can affect the amount of evidence collected at the time which is an important part of making a claim, such as photographs and independent witness details. With other types of claims, such as industrial illnesses or diseases caused by long-term exposure to harmful toxins or chemicals, and employer may try to limit or deny their liability by claiming that safety instructions weren’t followed, or that protective equipment was not worn by the claimant. Again, it is important to not accept any such liability and to make sure you obtain as much evidence as possible ti support your claim.

How is Compensation Calculated?

With injury claims where contributory negligence has been decided, the amount of compensation awarded to the claimant will be reduced. For example, if a court has decided that the claimant was 50% to blame, then the claimant is entitled to receive half (50%) of the total compensation that would have been awarded if the defendant had been completely (100%) to blame. 

Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors

At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve. 


If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.


Read about some of our 
compensation claim success stories or key stages to making a claim