Who Is Responsible for My Accident?

Reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, February 25, 2021

Sometimes, unfortunate things just happen – an incident that couldn’t have been expected and couldn’t be stopped from happening.

But in many cases, an accident has been caused by someone’s negligence. And in those cases, you don’t have to just accept what’s happened.

When someone is responsible for your accident and you’ve been injured, you can take legal action.

So how do you know who is responsible for your accident?

Working out accident liability

Responsibility for an accident is known as liability. The person or organisation liable for your accident will depend on where, why and how it happened. Every accident is different, so every liable party will be different.

The basic situation is that if someone has been negligent in their duty of care to you and you’ve been injured as a result, they could be liable and you could make a compensation claim against them. Let’s take a look at how this would be applicable in some real life examples:

  • Road accidents

On the road, everyone owes a duty of care to those around them. If someone disregards this and drives carelessly, they are responsible for the road traffic accident they cause. You could claim against their insurer if you’re injured.

  • Accidents in public

If you slip on a spilt liquid in a supermarket, the company is liable as they were negligent in both cleaning the spill and warning shoppers about it. Meanwhile, if you trip on an uneven pavement, the organisation responsible for its maintenance – usually the local council – will be liable.

  • Workplace accidents:

In certain situations, you rely on others to protect you. This is true at work. Your employer is responsible for your health and safety at work. That means if they’ve allowed unsafe practices, they could be responsible for any accidents in the workplace.

  • Faulty goods accidents

If you’ve bought or used something that doesn’t work properly and causes you harm, the manufacturer will typically be responsible. This includes skin reactions from faulty cosmetics, electrical shocks from defective electronics or burns from fires caused by faulty appliances.

The importance of assessing risk

Assessing risk is something we all do on a daily basis. When we’re cooking dinner, driving to the supermarket or looking after our kids, we’ll make countless decisions involving our own safety and the safety of those around us.

Risk is central to who is responsible for an accident. If a reasonable risk assessment hasn’t been done, then an accident is more likely. This can be a formal risk assessment – as is required in workplaces – or a casual one – as you would do when crossing a busy road.

So if a person or an organisation hasn’t taken full account of the risk posed by what they’re doing – like driving – or what they’re responsible for – like a pavement or building – then they could be held liable for an accident that happens as a result.

What if I cause the accident?

There are times when someone else may be liable for your accident even if you caused it. For example, you should receive the proper training at work to be able to do your job safely. If you don’t get the right training and then injure yourself doing something on your own, your employer could still be responsible as they should’ve done more to ensure your safety.

In other circumstances, you could be partially to blame for the accident. This is common in road traffic accidents. In situations like these, if you are partly responsible, you could still make a claim but any compensation you receive will be reduced. This is part of a legal concept known as contributory negligence.

For example, if it’s found that you were 40% responsible for the accident, you can make a claim but your compensation will be reduced by 40%.

If you’re not sure whether someone was responsible for your accident, just get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will help you work out if someone can be held accountable. To talk to us, just give us a call, use our live chat or start your claim online.

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