Road traffic accident claims

Who's at fault in a road traffic accident?

Determining fault can be a complex process and it isn't always immediately apparent which party may be to blame.

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No Win No Fee road traffic accident experts

Slater and Gordon is one of the UK's leading law firms in road traffic accident claims. We'll provide you with the best possible legal representation and help you get the compensation you deserve. Talk to us now on freephone 0330 107 6518 or contact us online to speak to one of our specialists today.

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What should you do if you have an road traffic accident and it's your fault?

If you have a road traffic accident that was your fault you must contact your insurers as soon as you're able. They will then deal with the matter on your behalf.

What if you're accused of a road traffic offence?

Road traffic offences are defined under the Road Traffic Acts and other relevant legislation. Usual offences are careless driving, dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving. You can read more on defending dangerous driving charges here.

The police will investigate the matter to determine who was at fault. If they find that they have sufficient evidence to convict you they will forward the case to the CPS (the Crown Prosecution Service). The CPS will then decide whether you should be charged with the offence.

Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, your insurers may arrange for a lawyer to represent you when being interviewed by the police and at any court hearing. Where the offence is causing death by dangerous driving, they may also provide representation at the inquest. The maximum penalty for the offence of death by dangerous driving is a custodial sentence, meaning you may face spending time in prison. It is therefore strongly recommended that you have a lawyer present with you during any interview or hearing.

If the terms of your insurance policy don't include representation, you can seek alternative legal advice from a specialist lawyer who deals with road traffic defence.

We have written this handy guide, on determining fault by location of damage to vehicles involved in a collision.

What if you were only partially at fault for the road traffic accident?

There are cases where both parties are partially to blame and neither are willing to accept full responsibility for the accident. In legal terms, 'liability' means who is at fault for the accident and where parties can't agree, this is known as a 'liability dispute'.

The way in which liability is dealt with is by both parties gathering evidence in support of their liability claim. This is why it's so important to ensure you obtain contact details of any independent witnesses who may have seen the accident take place. Photographs and other evidence taken at the scene may also assist.

Lawyers for each party will then negotiate based on their evidence. If they come to an agreement it's likely that they'll agree a split liability. This means that blame will be apportioned to each party as a percentage. For example, if you were found 25% to blame for the accident, it would be a 75/25 split on liability in your favour.

If parties are unable to reach an agreement on liability, the case would go to a liability hearing at court where a judge would make the decision.

How does compensation work when there's a split in liability?

If you were to make a compensation claim, and were held 25% liable for the accident, you would only receive 75% of the compensation you were awarded. For example, if your claim was valued and settled at £10,000, the compensation which would be awarded to you would be £7,500.

Contact a road traffic accident expert

If you've been involved in a road traffic accident, contact one of our personal injury solicitors who can help you through the claims process. Our personal injury solicitors have gained compensation for various clients who have been injury on the road, these include:

  • Steven Baylis achieving a multi-million pound settlement for a cyclist who was hit by a lorry that didn't leave her enough space on the road
  • After one of our clients was hit by a tractor on the A64 which left him with which back and shoulder injuries, prinicipal lawyer Jenny Keith helped her client get £500,00 in compensation and coverage for future treatments
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