Shared Blame Means Reduced Damages

May 8, 2005

Shared Blame Means Reduced Damages

Cases involving personal injury when both parties are ‘in the wrong’ present a particular problem when it comes to determining the apportionment of responsibility for (and therefore the amount of damages payable for) the injury.

In a recent case, a driver had been exceeding the speed limit when his car struck and injured a drunken man, who had just stepped out from behind a taxi. The driver was held to be 65 per cent responsible for the resultant injuries and the damages were apportioned accordingly.

The driver was driving at 40 mph in a built-up area at night. It was the judge's view that the victim's most serious injuries would have been avoided had the driver been travelling within the legal speed limit.

When the driver took the case to the Court of Appeal, it would not interfere with the apportionment of responsibility and reiterated that judges need to look at the degree of blame attaching to both parties as well as the impact of their behaviour.

This contrasts with another recent case in which the driver was found to be only 60 per cent liable in similar circumstances but in that case the driver's ability was impaired by alcohol when he struck a woman walking in the road. On the face of it, the driver in the first case seems to have been harshly dealt with.

If you are injured in an accident, contact us for advice. You may be eligible for compensation.