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Claiming Compensation and Seatbelts

Answer: Yes!

Who takes Responsibility and who must wear a Seatbelt?

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states the following:


Person: Front seat: Rear seat: Who is responsible?

Seat belt MUST be

worn if fitted

Child under 3years of age Correct child restraintMUST beused Correct child restraint MUST be used. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained. Driver
Child from3rd birthdayup to 1.35 metres in height (or

12th birthday, whichever

they reach


Correct child restraintMUST beused Correct child restraint MUST be used where seat belts fitted.  MUST use adult belt if correct child restraint is not available in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle, or for reasons of unexpected necessity over a short distance, or if two occupied restraints prevent fitment of a third. Driver
Child over1.35 metres (approx 4ft 5ins) in height or 12 or 13 years Adult seat belt MUST beworn ifavailable Adult seat belt MUST be worn if available Driver
Adult passengers aged 14 and over Seat belt MUST beworn ifavailable Seat belt MUST be worn if available Passenger

 Will the Court find me partly to blame for my injuries if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt ?

Possibly.  The concept in legal terms is called “contributory negligence.”  The principle behind this concept is that whilst the defendant driver may accept that they were mainly at fault for your accident, they may well argue you should accept some of the blame for failing to take care for your own safety by failing to wear a seatbelt.

 How may my Compensation be reduced ?

We rely on an old case called Froom v Butcher where the Judge decided that in a case where no seat belt was worn, the reduction in compensation for “contributory negligence” should be 25% if the injuries would have been prevented altogether and 15% if they would have been a “good deal less severe.”   To decide whether your injuries would have been less severe, we invite the independent medical expert to comment.


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