What is contributory negligence?
Posted on 10th July 2019
What is contributory negligence?
Essentially, when this term is thrown into the mix within a claim for personal injury, one party (the Defendant, usually) is suggesting the blame be split between the parties, and that there is fault on both sides. The split can be 50/50, however, can vary dependant on a number of factors which can differ case by case.
For example, Party A crashes into the back of Party B’s vehicle, however, both parties are under the influence of alcohol at the time. Party B makes a claim for personal injury as a result of the incident, and Party A claims contributory negligence on the basis that Party B was under the influence at the time, making both parties at fault for the incident. Subsequently, the action the Claimant has brought is affected in terms of the damages awarded.
The term, in essence, is suggesting that the injured party is considered to be partly to blame for the incident, loss and the injuries sustained. The Defendant proposes a split in liability, often, in defence of the claim being made against them. If agreed, this will, subsequently, affects the damages awarded.
If you are bringing about a claim, and the same is put forward, our accident injury solicitors will be able to advise you accordingly as to whether the same is reasonable or not. Each case is different and the same would be assessed on the facts of the case, together with the prospects of success if the same were to be rejected.
A recent case has brought this issue to light, particularly in respect of vulnerable road users. The Highway Code stipulates that vulnerable road users include both pedestrians and cyclists; as discussed within the following case.
The incident, occurring in July 2015, involved a pedestrian and a cyclist both travelling through the busy streets of London. The cyclist, travelling around 10mph, was proceeding through a green light when a pedestrian crossed his path causing a serious collision leaving both parties unconscious.
Why are our accident claim solicitors so interested in this case you may ask? The pedestrian was, in fact, using her telephone when she proceeded to cross and collide with the cyclist. The cyclist realised that the pedestrian had proceeded to cross, and shouted for her attention. It was, however, too late to avoid the pair colliding.
Still you may question, what is the correlation between this case and the issue of contributory negligence? Our accident injury solicitors have taken particular interest in this matter due to the Judgement which was given.
The Judge concluded that, despite recognising the green light and attempts to warn the pedestrian, the parties were equally culpable. The cyclist has, subsequently, been handed a hefty costs bill which could leave him in possible bankruptcy. The Judge went on to comment that cyclists “must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways”, deeming the parties equally negligent and awarding damages in a sum over £4,000.
The solicitor acting on behalf of the cyclist was shocked by the Judgement, stating that although they had anticipated some contributory negligence element, the 50/50 split came at a total shock. The cyclist was equally stunned and hopes that the present case would stress the "vulnerability of cyclists, both physically and against the Courts”.
As you can see, contributory negligence can be brought about and ‘put a spanner in the works’, even when unexpected. There should, however, be reasonable grounds to do so. This is just one of the reasons MG Legal’s accident injury solicitors specialise in what they do, in order to prepare for such matters and to obtain the award for damages our clients deserve. Our team deal with incidents involving cyclists on a daily basis, along with many other personal injury matters.
Our personal injury solicitors will evaluate your claim at every possible stage in order to assess whether any contributory negligence may be put forward, and to evaluate the best way in which to proceed.
If you have been involved in an incident which was not your fault, contact MG Legal, and our accident claim solicitors would be delighted to assist. Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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