LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 0844 414 1982

Our road accident claim solicitors represent injured victims on a no win no fee basis. Our lawyers are members of the Law Society Personal Injury Accreditation Scheme and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Road Accident Negligence Law

Compensation for personal injury in the UK is based on the law of negligence which has a long and detailed history dating back to 1348 when a ferryman from Hull was taken to court for drowning a mare belonging to a passenger on his craft. The latest incantation of the law of negligence was established after the decision in a famous 1932 consumer law case of Donohue v. Stevenson where a rotting snail was found in a bottle of ginger ale. Negligence is without doubt the most common form of civil wrong in the United Kingdom and results in road accident solicitors making tens of thousands of civil compensation claims to a court of law every year.

Definition of Negligence

Negligence occurs when a person's acts or omissions cause another to suffer some loss or inconvenience and has been given numerous definitions one of the most often quoted of which is as follows:

    The failure to do something which a reasonable person, guided by ordinary considerations would do; or the doing of something which a reasonable and prudent person would not do.

Elements of Negligence

In order for a road accident solicitor to take court action in a civil claim it is necessary for the potential claimant to show that the following elements existed :-

  • The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the claimant. In the case of road traffic accident claims all users of vehicles whilst on the roads must exercise consideration for other road users and the duty of care will exist almost without exception.
  • Assuming that the duty of care does exist in the particular circumstances of the accident it must also be shown that the duty of care was breached by the proposed defendant whose behaviour must have fallen below a reasonably acceptable standard. This means that a conviction in the criminal court for a motoring offence is not necessary to prove negligence.
  • Finally it must be proved that loss, damage or injury resulted from and is directly attributable to the breach of duty. Certain losses may however be considered to remote due to them being unforeseeable.
  • To put these issues in a nutshell, everyone has a duty of care to his or her legal neighbours who may be defined as anyone who is likely to be affected by any actions or omissions.

Contributory Negligence

If an innocent party is injured as a result of not wearing a seatbelt a road accident claim solicitor must give consideration to the doctrine of 'contributor negligence'. If the injuries were worsened by the failure to wear a seat belt there may be a deduction in the amount of compensation awarded.

If the accident was the fault of both drivers then each can claim against the other and their damages will be reduced in accordance with the percentage for which they were to blame. A passenger can never be blamed for an accident and will always receive compensation in full provided they were wearing a seat belt.

LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 0844 414 1982