Defences in road traffic accidents
Defences in road traffic accidents

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Defences in road traffic accidents
  • Contributory negligence
  • Seat belts
  • Involuntary acts
  • Latent defects
  • Illegality

Contributory negligence

The question of contributory negligence is dependent on the facts of the case. In Davies the Court of Appeal stated that generally in road traffic accidents the issues to consider are:

  1. which parties were at fault in the accident?

  2. in what proportion should the damages be apportioned having regard to the respective responsibilities of those at fault?

Seat belts

Seat belts

Rules 99 and 100 of the Highway Code require that all drivers and passengers wear seat belts where they are fitted in the vehicle.

The extent of contributory negligence for failure to wear a seat belt depends on the contribution to the injuries. In Froom a deduction of 25% was suggested if the injuries would have been avoided entirely had a seat belt been worn. A deduction of 15% was suggested if wearing a seat belt would have made a considerable difference. If wearing a seat belt would not have made any difference to the injuries sustained then there should be no deduction made.

The principles set out in Froom have been equally applied to the assessment of an adult’s failure to restrain their child in an approved child restraint in a car. In J (A Child) v Wilkins [2001] PIQR P12 (not available in Lexis®Library) the child’s mother was 25% to blame with regard to a