If you have suffered a whiplash injury through no fault of your own, you will be entitled to claim compensation for the damages you have wrongfully endured. However, what happens if you have contributed towards your injury because you were not wearing a seatbelt? Will you still be able to claim? Or will you have to forgo your right to make a claim? In this article we address these questions, helping you to understand whether or not you are still entitled to compensation.
When making a whiplash claim, it is necessary to establish causation. This means your solicitor must prove that the other side is responsible for your injuries. This can be achieved through a variety of evidence, including witness statements, notes in your medical records and a written report by an independent medical expert.
But establishing the link between your accident and your whiplash will become a little more complicated if you have in some way contributed towards the extent of your injuries. Most commonly, this will be due to the fact you were not wearing a seatbelt. This is known as contributory negligence, and means that your actions (or inactions, as the case may be) have influenced the extent of your whiplash injury.
Failing to wear a seatbelt is against the law, so you may wonder whether you still retain the right to make a whiplash claim. The simple answer is yes, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, you are able to claim. This is because the other party will still be deemed negligent, as their failure to display due care and attention will have caused the accident in the first place.
Nevertheless, your actions will have had an impact upon your injury. This will be taken into consideration when a compensation settlement is being decided upon. Indeed, compensation is supposed to reflect the pain and suffering you have wrongfully endured; but if you have in some way participated in this pain and suffering, your compensation must be altered accordingly. It is difficult to say how much your settlement may be reduced by, but generally speaking you will receive 25% less than you would have had contributory negligence not been a factor.
Thinking of making a claim?
Even if you were not wearing a seatbelt when your road traffic accident took place, you can still make a claim. If you would like to do so, please contact us today at 1stClaims. We have a team of specialist whiplash solicitors ready to help.