Road Traffic Accidents are the most common reason for people to make personal injury claims. Whilst, thankfully, many injuries arising from road traffic accidents are minor, serious injuries are often caused which have a devastating effect on people’s lives. Even cases of whiplash can have a long term impact on day to day life.
If you have been injured due to a road traffic accident and it’s not your fault then there is a potential claim awaiting you. Even if it is not completely the fault of the other side this won’t necessarily stop you from making a claim.
The Duty of Care
Every road user has a common law duty of care towards other road users. When a road user causes an accident, they may be in breach of their duty of care, which allows the injured party to bring a claim against them, based on their negligence. It should be noted that this duty of care is not an absolute one for all road users. What they do have to do is take care to try and avoid injuries that could have been reasonably anticipated from their actions or inaction.
Drivers of vehicles are often at fault when they drive too fast, drive too close to other road users, fail to apply their brakes in time and generally fail to pay proper attention to their driving. However, in addition to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can often, through their own negligence, cause accidents and injuries, for example, pedestrians running out into the path of cyclists and motorbikes.
One can often look to the highway code or other statute to help establish that there has been a breach of a duty of care. One of the best examples could be if you are injured following a driver crashing into you whilst under the influence of alcohol or whilst on the phone. In these instances a claim will most likely be fairly straight forward.
Division of fault
As mentioned above often there won’t be a complete finding of fault one way or the other. So any potential Claimant needs to be aware of the defence of contributory negligence. Not only do road users need to take reasonable care of other road users safety they also need to take reasonable care when he is aware of risks of injury.
For example if the claimant was a pedestrian in the accident then they might be susceptible to contributory negligence if they had ran out into the road which caused the accident.
So when a Court is considering fault they will consider the Claimant’s behaviour as well as the defendants. In the above case they will most likely conclude the claimant is partially at fault no matter what the defendant was doing and the award could be reduced accordingly.
The Issue of Insurers in Road Traffic Accidents
Normally and under statute drivers are meant to be insured so that if they are involved in an accident the insurers pay out to the other side if fault is found against them. A problem can arise if the driver at fault was uninsured (or if the driver is not identifiable). There is a body known as the Motor Insurer’s Bureau who have the power to pay out any damages which you as the injured party has suffered.
The problem being is that making a claim against the Motor Insurer’s Bureau is not the easiest thing to do. They have got incredibly strict rules and a claim can be thrown out for the smallest of errors. Not only that but like any insurers they will investigate your claim for contributory negligence. This is because they want to reduce any financial expenditure they have to suffer because of the accident.
For expert advice on the application the law relating to road traffic accident claims, please contact our professional team on [phonenumber]. Our team will be more than happy to discuss the details of your case with you and advise you on whether it is one that we are able to assist with. Alternatively fill out the form to the right and we will call you back at a time suitable for you.