Who’s at fault for your injury FAQs
I was driving my car on a busy, single-carriage road. I needed to make a U-turn, but because of the volume and speed of traffic it was very difficult. As I was making the U-turn, another driver, who had been speeding, hit my vehicle and injured me. Since he had been speeding (in violation of the Highway Code) and since there was no sign prohibiting U-turns, can I take it that the driver who hit me was 100% at fault?
No, the other driver probably will not be 100% at fault. Although he was speeding, and therefore in breach of the Highway Code, that does not necessarily make him completely responsible for the accident. You were performing a dangerous manoeuvre on a very busy road when he hit you, and so a court would probably find some degree of contributory negligence on your part. A court would likely apportion the fault for the accident between you and the other driver.
My husband contracted a serious respiratory disorder because of inadequate ventilation in the car and truck painting business that employed him. He asked about compensation, but his employer told him that he had not been negligent. His employer said that he had installed adequate ventilation equipment, but that it kept breaking down. Is it correct that the employer is not at fault for my husband's injury?
It is possible (although in practice, perhaps unlikely) that the employer might be able to demonstrate that he was not negligent. For example, the employer may say he made diligent efforts to fix the system and received guarantees from a third party maintenance company that everything was okay.
But even if not negligent, the employer had a statutory duty under the Health and Safety regulations to keep the workplace adequately ventilated. Your husband can probably make a claim based on the employer's breach of that statutory duty, even if it is difficult to show that the employer was negligent.
Consult a solicitor who specialises in personal injury law as a matter of urgency for tailored advice .
My car was damaged and I was injured after hitting an enormous hole in the road. The hole was not easy to see and there was no warning posted about it. A friend who lives near that stretch of road said that the hole has been there for several days. The highway authority did nothing about it because says it uses a contracting firm to maintain the road. I called the highway authority and got the name of the contractors to claim compensation, but when I tried to reach them I found that the firm had gone bust and been wound up. Am I out of luck?
No, you're not out of luck. You can probably make a valid claim against the highway authority. The highway authority has a statutory duty to maintain the road, and it cannot delegate that authority to a contractor.
Holding hands, my five-year-old daughter and I were walking along the pavement with other parents and children near the entrance to her primary school. She suddenly pulled loose from my hand and darted into the street, where she was hit by a car and injured. The driver stopped and said he had been observing the speed limit, and that my daughter was responsible for the accident because she ran into the street without stopping to check for traffic. Is the driver correct?
No. The driver may well have been negligent, even though he was observing the speed limit. Since he was driving past a primary school, with lots of small children in the area, he should have adjusted his speed accordingly. In other words, in some circumstances, it is not reasonable and prudent to drive at the speed limit, so the fact that the driver was observing the speed limit does not in itself absolve him of fault.
Your daughter was not negligent, as the court will not find that a young child has been negligent.
You, however, may bear some responsibility for the accident, since your failure to restrain your daughter might amount to negligence (or contributory negligence). As your daughter was able to pull away and since her behaviour suggests that she did not know better than to run into the street, a court might well find that you did not do enough to protect her from the hazard.
Whilst at work, I was in a hurry to leave the building to meet a friend for lunch. As I came down the main staircase towards the exit, I tried to save time by leaping down the last five steps in one go. When I did so, I fell and broke my ankle. I know that my employer frequently neglects health and safety matters, and I know of several health and safety violations in other parts of the building. Given my employer's pattern of negligence, would a court be likely to find him at fault for the injury to my ankle -- since I was on the premises when it happened?
Your employer may be in breach of his common law and statutory duty of care in connection with the safety issues in other parts of the building, but there does not appear to be any link between those other issues and your injury. To have a claim against your employer, your need to be able to demonstrate that his breach of duty of care caused your injury. The fact that your employer generally has a poor record of health and safety compliance is not enough.
Even if there had been some breach of duty of care by your employer that had caused your injury (say, for instance, the stair tread you leapt from was slippery, and that threw you off balance) you probably bear some responsibility for contributory negligence. A court would probably conclude that a reasonable man would not have attempted to leap over the last five stairs.
I have a very stressful job, and at one point the stress became so overwhelming that my doctor referred me to a consultant who said I had clinical depression. I took a leave of absence for several weeks. My employer asked me to return to work and we agreed that if I did so he would take certain steps to make my job less stressful. I returned to work, but the job continued to be just as stressful as ever, and a few weeks after returning I had a complete nervous collapse. My employer says he is not to blame, since I returned to work of my own volition. Is my employer right about that?
No, your employer is not correct. In fact, your first leave of absence put your employer on notice that you were vulnerable to stress. Knowing that, he permitted you to return to the same job, and the measures that were supposed to have made the job less stressful seem to have been ineffective. Claims for work-related stress can be complicated, and you should get advice from a solicitor who specialises in such claims.