Motor Vehicle

Blame It On Me (But only partially) – can you claim if you partially caused a car accident.

Approximately 45,000 car accidents happen every year on Queensland roads. 1 In most cases, such as rear-end car accidents, or car accidents involving vehicles turning across traffic or failing to give way,liability (i.e. who is to blame) is easy to figure out.

In some car accidents, however, a person may be partially at-fault, but still be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory Negligence is when an injured person’s own negligence (i.e. failure to take reasonable care) has materially contributed to the causation of their injury. Common examples of car accidents involving contributory negligence include:

  • Where a car has entered an intersection as a traffic light went red, and another vehicle waiting to turn right across them has caused a collision. In this case 2 the court found that the driver trying to make the traffic light was 50% contributorily negligent.
  • Where you illegally cross the street as a pedestrian but the car that hits you in speeding or otherwise driving unsafely.
  • Where you, as a passenger in a vehicle, have failed to wear a seatbelt and this has caused you to sustain more serious injuries in a car accident.

Intoxication – Mandatory Presumptions of Contributory Negligence

There are two common situations involving drugs and alcohol and car accidents where an injured person will be presumed to have contributed to their injuries.

  1. If the injured person is intoxicated at the time of sustaining the injury, and their intoxication (by drugs or alcohol) has contributed to their injury, there is a presumption
    of at least 25% contributory negligence. The presumption can be rebutted if the injured person can show that their intoxication did not contribute to their injury, or their intoxication was not self-induced.³
  2. If the injured person relies upon the care and skill of a person known to be intoxicated (on drugs or alcohol) there will be a presumption of at least 25% contributory negligence. This presumption does not apply if the injured person was under the age of 16, or can show, on the balance of probabilities, that the intoxicated person’s intoxication did not contribute to the incident, or the injured person could not reasonably be expected to have avoided relying on the intoxicated person.Importantly, if a person injured in a car accident is a passenger in a car driven by an intoxicated person, the minimum reduction based on contributory negligence is 50%.

What does 50% Contributory Negligence Mean for my Compensation Claim?

1 MAIC Report 2019-2020
2 Busch v Parker & Anor [2022] QSC 21
3 Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld), s 47
4 Ibid, s 48

In some circumstances, pedestrians have right of way of our roads. If a pedestrian is crossing the road into which a motorist’s vehicle is turning, the driver of the vehicle must keep a proper look out and give way to pedestrians if there is a risk of collision. Importantly, pedestrians have right of way in these circumstances even if there is no designated pedestrian crossing.

Personal Injury Claims

At Claimwise our mission is to help you save money on your legal fees. By starting your CTP claim with a traditional ‘No Win, No Fee’ law firm your total legal fees can end up being $10,000 or more higher than by using us.

Be smart, claim wise.

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