When you pursue a compensation claim following an accident, it’s usually the case that you are holding the other side responsible for your injuries and damages.
If the defendant is found to be entirely responsible for an accident, they are described as being ‘100% liable’.
Please note the following information relates to personal injury and road traffic accident claims only.
But in some cases, the defendant (the person you are claiming against) may argue that you were partly to blame for the accident. You may not have realised it at the time but as the case develops it could come to light that you were partly responsible because of something you did, or failed to do, at the time of the accident.
If this is the case then the other side may request to reach a split liability agreement. A split liability means that two or more parties involved in an accident have agreed to share the blame. Perhaps you were injured in a car accident but the other driver claims the collision was partly your fault or that you contributed to the injuries and damage sustained, even if only in a minor way.
One example might be if it was determined you were partly responsible for the accident because you were driving too fast for the road and weather conditions. Or perhaps your vehicle collided with another in a supermarket car park as you were both reversing out of a parking space.
If you reach a split liability agreement on your case, this will be taken into consideration when deciding on the compensation you are owed. The percentage of liability (i.e. the portion of blame) the other side takes directly affects the amount of compensation you will be able to claim; if you agree to a 50/50 split liability agreement on a case worth £20,000 for example you would receive £10,000 (i.e. 50% of the total).
Common Split Liability Proportions
Below are the most common types of split liability agreements, which are described in terms of percentages:
75% / 25%
This means a 75/25 split in your favour: You have accepted that you were 25% responsible for the accident and the other side has accepted that they were 75% responsible.
The overall value of your claim will be worked out as normal (based on your injuries and losses) but you will only receive 75% of this amount from the other side’s insurance company.
50% / 50%
Liability is reached on a 50/50 basis when both parties agree they are equally responsible for an accident.
The overall value of your claim will be worked out as normal (based on your injuries and losses) but you will only receive 50% of this amount from the other side’s insurance company.
25% / 75%
This means a 25 / 75 split in favour of the other side: You have accepted that you were 75% responsible for the accident.
The overall value of your claim will be worked out as normal (based on your injuries and losses) but you will only receive 25% of this amount from the other side’s insurance company.
Who Decides The Proportion Of The Split Liability Agreement?
Your solicitor will agree upon the proportion of the split with the other side’s insurer. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement and the claim goes to court, a Judge will decide on how to proportion liability.
Regardless of the split of liability, the fees to the solicitor remain the same. So, if you have a 50/50 split liability agreement on a £10,000 settlement, you would receive half that (£5,000) less the solicitor fees (usually 25%). This fee stays at 25% even if you are due to receive 100% of the compensation.
Senior Partner of Bott and Co, David is a fellow, and past president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Championing consumer rights, he regularly speaks at legal conferences and has appeared on a number of television shows including The One Show and Watchdog, as well as BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live.