A Guide to Car Accident Liability Case Law

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car accident liability

In the case of serious or complex car accidents, the court will look at and examine the facts surrounding the incident to ascertain who was to blame.

Sometimes it is not black and white, both parties could be equally at fault or one more so than the other. In this instance the courts will then apportion blame, say for example 50:50 or 75:25.

Everyone who uses the road has a duty of care towards other road users. If an accident occurs and you were negligent, then you will be liable for damages for the injuries caused.

As you are required by law to have insurance, these damages will usually be met by your insurance company.

What is a Road User’s Duty of Care?

Most of a road user’s duty of care is common sense, obviously nobody on the roads can guarantee 100% safety to all other road users.

A duty of care means you always take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of others, by driving carefully and adhere to the Highway Code at all times. There are no exceptions, no allowances are made for learner drivers or for those who may have just recently passed their driving test.

All factors are taken into consideration when an accident does occur, in some cases it is immediately apparent who was to blame.

Say, for example, you are using your mobile phone whilst driving or you have been drinking, then there is no duty of care and you will be held responsible for the accident occurring.

Similarly if you are speeding at the time the accident happens, then the blame will rest with you.

Contributing factors however are always taken into consideration. If you were speeding and a pedestrian suddenly ran out onto the road in front of you, without taking due care and attention, the blame in this instance could then be apportioned.

Vehicle Insurance Cover

By law all drivers have to take out motor insurance. This insurance, as a minimum, must cover third parties. This then covers the driver against any compensation claims from injured parties should they be involved in an accident, where they were at fault.

MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau)

The MIB is a not for profit organisation that is in place to protect victims. If a driver is uninsured when an accident occurs, or in the case of a hit and run where the driver is unidentifiable, the MIB will then pay the damages. Where the driver can be identified, the MIB have the right to recover these monies back from them.

All UK car insurers contribute to the fund of the MIB and are required by law to do so. A small proportion of all car insurance premiums paid goes towards this.

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