Back in July we discussed a case in one of our blogs which involved an employee pursuing her employer for £1 million after she suffered a serious fall at work which left her facing a future confined to a wheelchair. Sylvia Cheung experienced spinal cord injuries in the fall at the Dovecot based Yang Sing takeaway. Her employer denied liability but, in a London High Court hearing, the judge found them 85% to blame, with 15% of the blame resting with Mrs Cheung. As a result she was told that she would receive 85% of the compensation awarded once the amount had been agreed.
It is a common misconception by injured victims to believe they won’t be able to pursue a claim if they have been partly responsible for their accident. But this is not the case, as the Yang Sing incident demonstrated. Whether it’s a road traffic accident, an accident at work or a slip or trip in a public place, victims who find themselves to partly to blame still have a right to compensation, albeit at a reduced rate.
Pro rota compensation awards
This reduced rate is based on a percentage of blame which is normally decided by a judge, although in some cases it can be settled out of court between the parties’ insurers. It is more common, however, for these cases to require a court hearing because the defendant will often be denying responsibility altogether. But if the personal injury solicitor believes there is a viable case, they will push for justice on behalf of the injured party because even a proportion of an award can make a substantial difference in aiding recovery and covering financial losses.
Mrs Cheung’s compensation award was to be reduced by 15% because it was considered she could have taken more care whilst carrying out her tasks in order to avoid her fall. Other examples of cases that could involve the injured party being partly responsible include a worker failing to use protective equipment or clothing during hazardous tasks or a road traffic accident in which more than one driver was to blame.
Even if the circumstances of your accident are not clear, or you know that part of the blame may lay with you, one of the expert accident claims lawyers at Stephensons will be able to advise you. If we feel you have a viable case we will take it on and push for the highest possible award based on the specific circumstances of the accident. To speak to one of our specialist lawyers, call us on 01616 966 229.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney