This is an issue frequently raised by the Defendant in a claim; it means that the person claiming compensation is potentially partly to blame for the accident. Examples could include, if you were not concentrating on what you were doing at the time of the accident, not looking where you were going, not following instructions provided to you by your employer, not wearing a seat belt etc. If you are considered to be contributory negligent then your damages will be reduced by a similar percentage, for example, if you were 20% to blame for the accident your damages will be reduced by 20%.
The fact that an accident has occurred and you were entirely blameless does not necessarily mean that someone else is liable in law. To succeed in claims such as road traffic accidents or actions against your employer it is normally necessary to prove negligence. In some situations your case may be governed by an Act of Parliament such as the Occupiers Liability Act or by some other statutory instrument which might include for example Health & Safety Regulations.
Photographic evidence can be vital in establishing what happened and proving who was responsible for the accident. If your accident involved a car, you should take photographs of the damage before the car is repaired or scrapped and ideally take photographs at the scene showing where the vehicles ended up and the accident scene. If you suffered a slipping or tripping accident, then photographs of the defect that caused your accident are vital.
It is likely that at some point we will have to send to the Defendant's Solicitors any witness statements on which you intend to rely. In cases where liability is in dispute then your witness statements will be swapped or "exchanged" simultaneously with statements from the Defence witnesses. We will discuss with you in detail the drafting of your Witness statement, which is an important step in every case. Under the Court Rules if your case ends up in Court then your witness statement will become your sworn evidence before the Court. It is vital therefore that it covers all the areas which you would want to tell the Court about in your claim and it is crucial that it is absolutely accurate.
We may need statements from others about the accident itself. (In passing, It is often helpful to have statements from members of your family and/or friends about the impact the accident has had upon you.)
Personal Injury team members:
Personal Injury Related Legal Topics:
- Different types of Damages
- Children or Person under a Disability
- Claiming for Others
- Court of Protection
- Is there a time limit?
- Why should I instruct Crosse + Crosse?
- Will I have to go to Court?