Who Is Responsible for My Accident?

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

But in many cases, accidents are caused by the negligence of another person or organisation. In these situations, you don’t just have to accept what happened.

When someone else is responsible for your accident and you’ve been injured, you could 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, meaning every liable party will be different, too.

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. We’ve broken down how this could be applied in some real life scenarios:

  • 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 council – will be liable.
  • Workplace accidents
    In certain situations, you rely on others to protect you – this is especially true at work. While you’re in the workplace, your employer is responsible for your health and safety. This means that if they’ve allowed unsafe practices, they could be responsible for any accidents that take place.
  • Faulty goods accidents
    If you’ve bought or used something that doesn’t work properly and causes you harm, the manufacturer will typically be held 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 completed, then accidents are more likely to happen. This could be a formal risk assessment – as is required in workplaces. Or it could be a casual one – as you would do when crossing a busy road.

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

What happens if liability is denied?

If the person or organisation responsible for your accident denies liability, it doesn’t mean your case has been unsuccessful. In fact, it’s not that uncommon for liability to be denied in the first instance.

Your solicitor will be prepared for this situation, and it will be up to them to gather further evidence to support your claim. This could include medical records, photographs, CCTV footage or witness testimonies.

If the other side continues to deny liability after being presented with new evidence, your case may need to go to court. But this is very rare, and you shouldn’t let it put you off seeking the compensation you deserve.

What if I caused 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 injure yourself doing something on your own, your employer could still be held responsible as they should’ve done more to ensure your safety.

In other circumstances, you could be partially to blame for an accident. If this is the case, 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 could 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 you have a case for compensation. To talk to us, just give us a call or start your claim online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


Fill in our simple form and
get a call back at a time to suit you.

Or talk to our team on :

0808 256 2340

By submitting an enquiry to First4Lawyers you agree to the terms and conditions of service as outlined in our Privacy Policy.


It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing