Q&As

When acting for a claimant who was injured as a passenger in a road traffic accident, but was not wearing their seatbelt, what is the best approach to making a Part 36 offer in relation to liability particularly, where there are two defendants?

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Published on LexisPSL on 02/07/2021

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

  • When acting for a claimant who was injured as a passenger in a road traffic accident, but was not wearing their seatbelt, what is the best approach to making a Part 36 offer in relation to liability particularly, where there are two defendants?

When acting for a claimant who was injured as a passenger in a road traffic accident, but was not wearing their seatbelt, what is the best approach to making a Part 36 offer in relation to liability particularly, where there are two defendants?

In most road traffic accident cases involving injuries to passengers, it will be clear that the passenger bears no responsibility for the accident and the consequent injuries and it will not usually be difficult to identify the sole tortfeasor responsible. However, in some cases, while the accident must necessarily have resulted from negligence on the part of one or both of the drivers, the defendants may each have denied liability. In these circumstances, a Part 36 offer on liability is an important device to apply pressure to the defendants.

Where the client’s instructions are clear that they were unrestrained, it is good practice to consider making a Part 36 offer on liability, but the claimant practitioner must be aware of, and advise the client on, the principles governing determination of the issue of contributory negligence. Since the decision of the Court of Appeal in Froom v Butcher, it has been well established that although the unrestrained passenger will very seldom bear responsibility for the accident, they may well have contributed to their own injury by their failure to employ a seatbelt (and now

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