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Accidents which lead to serious injury and disability may be caused by more than one person’s behaviour. Where someone has been seriously injured in an accident caused by somebody else, but their own actions also contributed to the accident or their injury, the injured person’s compensation may be reduced or ‘discounted’.

The discount will be proportionate to their own contributory negligence. However, the injured person may still be entitled to substantial compensation for their injuries. This is particularly important where the accident leads to catastrophic injuries, such as brain injury or other major trauma, where compensation may be a lifeline to rehabilitation, essential care and support and financial stability.

What is contributory negligence? 

As long as the defendant’s negligence was one of the causes of the accident, if the injured person’s own behaviour also partly caused the accident or their injury, this does not prevent them from making a claim. So, for example, if a motorcyclist is hit by the defendant’s car suddenly turning, without indicating, into their path, the motorcyclist may have a claim for compensation for their injuries.

If the motorcyclist is overtaking at speed, making it difficult to stop in time to avoid the collision, this may contribute to the cause of the accident. The motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet would not cause the accident but it could contribute to their head injury. If they had only suffered injuries to their limbs, for example, it would not be relevant to their claim.

Starting your contributory negligence claim

We strongly recommend that severely injured clients, or their families, should speak to us first before assuming they were to blame for their accident, so that we can advise on their entitlement to rehabilitation and compensation based on our expert assessment of the strength of their claim.

Our experienced injury claims lawyers are experts at achieving substantial compensation even in cases where the defendant’s insurers allege that our client’s own actions partly caused or contributed to the accident or their injury.

We always fight unreasonable allegations of contributory negligence or excessive discounts:

  • where they are not justified by the evidence;
  • where they are not relevant to our client’s injury, (such as failure to wear a motorcycle helmet if the injury relates to the spine, limbs etc but not their head);
  • where allegations of contributory negligence are used as a stalling tactic, defensive move or to delay our client’s access to settlement, interim payments or funding for rehabilitation.

Contributory negligence claims & compensation frequently asked questions

Making a contributory negligence claim

If you (or a family member) have suffered a severe injury in an accident, contributory negligence should not prevent you from seeking our advice about making a claim. Our personal injury lawyers are specialists in complex and severe injury claims and offer compassionate, expert, confidential advice. In most cases where somebody else was at least partly to blame for an accident, we can help seriously injured clients obtain some compensation.

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Will I have to pay anything if my injuries were partly caused by my own contributory negligence?

No. The injured person’s compensation may be reduced or ‘discounted’ by a percentage (or proportion) of the full value of their claim to reflect their own ‘contributory negligence’. This means that their compensation is reduced, so that the defendant only pays according to their share of the blame for our client’s injuries.

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Meet your specialist team

Our specialist Contributory negligence claims & compensation team are considered leaders in the field and have a significant amount of expertise.
Kim Milan

Kim Milan

Senior Partner

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Claire Roantree


Martin Anderson

Martin Anderson

Associate Solicitor

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Oliver Dugdale


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Beth Hatton


Kim Milan
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Martin Anderson
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Beth Hatton headshoot

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Awards & accreditations

Our medical negligence and personal injury teams have been nationally recognised for over 20 years because of their expertise, empathy and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients.

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What our clients say


Kim at Boyes Turner was recommended to me after I had received ineffective service from another company. From the outset, Kim has been professional, reassuring and supportive. I have always had faith in her ability to get the best outcome, not only financially, but also in helping my rehabilitation from a traumatic brain injury. She is friendly and empathetic, with unquestionable professional integrity. She was quick to grasp the important issues in my case, was meticulous in her investigating the details and analysing them, realistic in what the outcomes were likely to be and achieved a successful outcome.

I would not hesitate in recommending her and Boyes Turner.

Boyes Turner Client

"Amazing people"

Almost 5 years ago my sons suffered a life changing brain injury accident. A new life for everyone, so many unknowns so many difficult decisions. I met Claire and the team shortly after the accident. So many questions answered but more than that, amazing lovely people. Claire has been guiding me and the family throughout this ordeal with such compassion, there every time I needed her we couldn’t of asked for a nicer person. I have met many others with in Boyes Turner and all have been genuine lovely people, I’m now working with Ruth and Lindsay from the court of protection. Again, I can't say enough about them amazing lovely people. They truly do won't the best for my son and they did and continue to do so.

Barry Williams

"Personal Injury Claim"

Claire is exceptionally knowledgeable in the personal injury legal domain, especially in the specific area of my injury. From our very first conversation, she was clear in explaining the potential different routes that the process could take and provided me with expectations of what I could expect along the journey.

She ensured that all bases were covered, organising meetings, discussions and necessary specialist appointments, in order to bring together the case and take it forward. Claire was then able to use her extensive pool of contacts, to appoint an "area leading" barrister, to represent me.

Overall, I was very pleased with appointing Claire and Boyes Turner to act as my solicitor for the legal claim that I pursued. Thank you for all of your support.

Boyes Turner Client

"Boyes turner workplace injury claim"

I approached Claire Roantree of Boyes Turner in regards to making a claim about a workplace burns injury. It was something that had scarred me physically and mentally and taken a huge toll on the lives of me and my family. Claire wasted no time in finding out what happened and made sure I was treated by known experts and quickly finding an answer to my burns scarring and how I could be treated to help manage my pain. Claire also helped me by appointing a psychiatrist to understand my situation and help me cope with post traumatic stress disorder. As well as taking as much stress of the claim away, she was thorough in every situation, making sure I had the best possible claim, and handled it all expertly, I am so very grateful to her and her team. They have helped guide my life back into a positive direction and I can't thank her enough!

Boyes Turner Client

"Personal Injury claim"

Excellent service from Claire and her team at all times. We were kept up to date at each stage of our claim. The outcome was much better than we expected and we would not hesitate to recommend Boyes Turner to family and friends.

Boyes Turner Client
Rated Excellent 4.8/5