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Making a compensation claim even if I am the party at fault

Can you make a compensation claim if the accident was partially your fault?

Yes. You can still make a claim for compensation if you were partly at fault for the accident, but the amount of your compensation will be reduced. This is calculated according to what lawyers call contributory negligence.

This a very common question that we receive at GC Law. In order to be successful in acquiring compensation, you must also prove that your injury came about as a result of negligence from another party too. Contributory negligence is the way that your own degree of negligence can be removed from the equation.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is the name given to the extent to which an injured person may have contributed to their own injury in a compensation claim. It is usually measured in percentage terms, like 10%, 25% and so on.

For example, if someone is found to have been contributory negligent for their own injury to the extent of 25%, then their award of compensation is reduced by 25% and they only recover 75% of the compensation they would recover under circumstances where another party was solely responsible.

Doctor fits a cast to an injured person

Who Decides on the Degree of Contributory Negligence?

First it needs to be proven that the claimant contributed to their injuries. If it can be proven, then the Court will decide on the degree of contributory negligence that will be applied to the case.

Examples of Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence may arise in circumstances where a person is hit by a car when crossing a road, but who failed to look out for oncoming traffic before crossing. It may also arise where a person suffered an eye injury working on a lathe at work, but who failed to wear safety goggles that were supplied by their employer.

In these cases, the injured parties may still be eligible for compensation. However, the total figure they receive will have been reduced according to the level at which they contributed to their own injury.

Australia’s Law of Negligence and Our Duty of Care

The law states that we all owe a duty of care to others to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risks of injury to them. This is commonly referred to as the law of negligence. It’s important to get good legal advice from an experienced personal injuries lawyer about the negligence aspect of any potential claim, because there may be duties of care of which you are unaware, that may actually mean you have a good claim, even when you think you don’t.

Making a Compensation Claim

If you believe someone’s negligence was the cause of your injury, then get advice from a good compensation lawyer, who will be able to tell you if:-There is a legal basis to your claim;

  • Against whom should the claim be made;
  • What are your chances of success;
  • The legal costs involved;
  • The possibility of an out of court settlement.

At GC Law we can advise you about all of these things at a free no obligation initial appointment at our Gold Coast-based office.

However, strict time limits apply to personal injuries claims so it’s important to get legal advice as soon as you can after being injured in an accident. This will help you to ensure your rights are protected.

If you need advice about an injury claim you can call us now on 1300 302 318 or email us at

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