In a road traffic accident, where a Claimant fails to wear a seatbelt, an insurer will almost always seek to deduct 25% from the compensation claim.
In reality it is not as straightforward as an insurer would have you believe. Firstly the burden of proving the deduction rests firmly with the opponent. Secondly the standard deductions are not as simple as reducing the claim by 25%. The standard applicable today is set out in Froom v Butcher (1975) as follows:-
- No deduction where use of seatbelt would not have made any material difference to the injuries suffered.
- 25% deduction if the failure to wear a seatbelt made all the difference, in other words the Claimant would have been uninjured or virtually uninjured.
- A deduction of 15% in other cases, in other words cases where the Claimant would still have suffered an injury but the injury is more severe because of the failure to wear a seatbelt.
If you have suffered serious injury, a 25% deduction will be considerable. As always, instruct a local solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims to ensure you get the right result.
Richard Meggitt is a Solicitor and Partner with Accident Solicitors Direct, Ecclesall Rd Sheffield