It is becoming more widely known around the UK that anyone who has suffered an accident that was not their fault could well be entitled to claim compensation from the responsible party. However, many people are uncertain as to the specifics: exactly what makes an accident someone else’s fault? Below you will find details on how best to tell if an accident was your fault or if someone else can be held responsible.
Firstly, it is important to ask yourself if you were complying with the law at the time that the accident occurred. The most obvious way that this question can be applied is if the accident occurred whilst you were driving. So, for instance, were you obeying the speed limit? Did you observe all the necessary driving laws in the lead-up to the accident? Even if the accident was the fault of another driver, the fact that you ran a deserted red light a minute or two before the incident occurred could seriously affect your claim. Another example is if you suffered a trip or fall as a result of uneven flooring. In this case you should ask yourself whether you had a legal reason to be in that area at the time. The best way to deal with this is to be honest and upfront.
Secondly, if the injury occurred at work, you should consider whether you were following the training that you had been given to the letter. It is the legal obligation of any employer to fully train their employees in using equipment that can be dangerous, as well as warning them of any general hazards that can occur around the workplace. If you have received this training, then you should be safe as long as you stick to it. If you have suffered an injury, then you need to be sure that you were following the training you had been given. If you were not, you will probably be considered just as responsible as your employer.
Thirdly, a good question to ask yourself is “was there any way you could have known about the hazard before it occurred?” For example, if you suffered an accident at work because a machine was faulty, consider whether there was a sign warning employees not to use it, or you were otherwise made aware of the risks of using the machine before the incident occurred. Whilst this will not necessarily prevent you from making a claim (it will still be considered the employer’s error not to have made the machine inaccessible to employees) it could certainly cloud the issue of responsibility.
Finally, the most effective way of judging whether or not you are responsible for an accident is to consult an expert in injury law. Solicitors such as those at the Accident Advice Helpline have years of experience in personal injury claims, so should (after a consultation) be able to judge accurately who was responsible for the injury. It is important to be honest about the circumstances of the injury, as otherwise you could incur charges for both erroneously making a claim, as well as wasting the time of the opposing side.