Can I claim head injury compensation if I was in a road traffic accident which was not my fault, but was not wearing a seatbelt?
Head injury compensation can be claimed in any road traffic accident when a third party was at fault, although the amount of compensation awarded will be significantly reduced if the claimant was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.
In any road traffic accident personal injury claim, before a settlement for damages can be reached, personal contributory negligence will need to be calculated. While a claimant may be entirely blameless for any road accident, they will almost certainly be responsible for the severity of some of the injuries that have been sustained.
With a head injury compensation claim, the defence will almost certainly argue that the claimant has failed in their duty of care to themselves, and that there was personal negligence on the part of the claimant. They may attempt to demonstrate that only minor injuries would have been sustained had the claimant been wearing a seatbelt, and the head injury compensation received would be reduced accordingly.
As a general rule of thumb, you could expect any head injury compensation settlement to be reduced by around 25% if a seatbelt was not being worn at the time of the accident, as no injuries may have been suffered had you had been wearing one. If you would have suffered milder injuries, then the claim would be reduced by 15%, and in some cases, when wearing a seatbelt would have made no difference to the injuries, then claims for compensation may not be reduced at all. As with any compensation claim, these percentages will vary according to the individual circumstances.
Since compensation claims for road traffic accidents can become complicated when there has been such clear personal negligence, it is strongly advisable to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible about making a head injury compensation claim.