There are cases where a claimant may be paid compensation despite carrying some of the liability for the accident. These are known as contributory negligence cases. If the accident is partly the fault of both the claimant and the defendant a percentage split is given to the case. A decision which holds 2 parties equally liable would therefore be a 50/50 split. In this case, a claimant would receive 50% of the compensation they would otherwise have received if the other party was solely responsible.
We recently represented a client in an accident at work which involved contributory negligence. She was working in a factory moving large trays. Unknown to her, a tray she was moving had a second tray stuck on the bottom. This second tray fell and she tripped over it, sustaining a broken wrist and exacerbating the symptoms of arthritis in her knee and back.
A witness statement from her colleague showed that our client didn’t know the second tray was attached. Despite this, her employers maintained that she should have known the second tray was attached. This was not noticed as the time as she was in a hurry to move the trays.
After the defendant’s offer to hold our client 75% liable for the accident was rejected, the case proceeded to trial. In court all the evidence was examined and the judge ruled the reverse – she was only held to be 25% liable for the accident. Under this split of contributory negligence, our client received 75% of the total she’d have received if found totally innocent.
This case shows how the concept of contributory negligence is dealt with by the court. Even if a claimant is not found to be faultless in preventing the accident, they can still receive some compensation for their personal injuries.
These cases can be complex and involve extensive evidence gathering and negotiation. If you think your employer may argue that you were partly to blame for your accident at work, get in touch with a personal injury solicitor. You can read more about proceeding with an accident at work claim here.