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What is a split liability agreement? - 50/50, 75/25

The term 'split liability agreement' can be taken literally - there is an agreement that liability (blame) for an accident is split between the parties involved.

The scales of justice by James Cridland via Creative Commons
Photo by James Cridland via Creative Commons

What does split liability mean?

If you are pursuing a compensation claim following an accident, you may hold the other side fully responsible for your injuries sustained as a result. Unfortunately in some cases the other side may dispute this, and allege that you were partly to blame for the accident. After considering the circumstances further, it might be that you were indeed partly responsible for the accident, even if only in a minor way, for example if something you did or failed to do contributed to the cause of the accident and/or the damage sustained.

Car Accident Liability

If you are involved in a road traffic accident it is essential to consider the accident circumstances to decide who was at fault (i.e. who caused the accident). In many cases the accident circumstances will be relatively straight forward and one party will be liable this is known as single liability, however in some situations no one party is clearly responsible for the accident and so it will be necessary to consider agreeing liability on a split basis.

For example: if you are reversing out of a parking space, and the other side is also reversing out of a parking space, and both vehicles collide, it is likely that liability will be apportioned on a 50/50 basis because it would seem that neither party was paying sufficient attention to their surroundings.

It may be that you saw the other party reversing and so you decided to stop your vehicle, but the other side did not see you and continued to reverse into your stationary vehicle; you would hold the other party at fault for the accident. Unfortunately there may be no evidence that your vehicle was in fact stationary and so as a result of the lack of evidence, it is possible that liability would still be apportioned 50/50.

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Split liability settlement

Once a split liability agreement has been reached, it will be necessary to take this into account when considering the settlement of your claim; the percentage to which a person is liable for causing your accident directly links with the amount of compensation you would be able to recover from them in a claim.

For example: if your claim is subject to a 50/50 split liability agreement, you would receive 50% of your compensation for your injury and losses. If the other side offered you £10,000 subject to liability and you accepted this offer, you would receive £5,000 (50% of the amount).

Split liability costs

Your solicitors' costs are based on the damages awarded to you and not on your liability agreement. Regardless of whether your claim settles on a 100% basis or on a 50/50 basis, your solicitor is still entitled to their full legal costs.

Common accident liability splits

Liability agreements are described in terms of percentages.

100% - If someone is said to be 100% liable for an accident, this means they are fully to blame and no-one else's actions caused or contributed to the cause of the accident. You will receive 100% of the overall value of your claim* from the other side's insurance company.

75% / 25% - If liability is agreed on a 75/25 basis in your favour, it means that the other side has accepted 75% responsibility for the accident and you have accepted 25% responsibility for the accident. You will receive 75% of the overall value of your claim*. If liability is agreed on a 75/25 basis in favour of the other side, it means that the other side has accepted 25% responsibility for the accident and you have accepted 75% responsibility for the accident. You will receive 25% of the overall value of your claim* from the other side's insurance company.

50% / 50% – If liability is agreed on a 50/50 basis, it means that you and the other side have both accepted 50% responsibility for the accident. You will receive 50% of the overall value of your claim* from the other side's insurance company.

Liability Split Meaning of Liability Split
100 You will receive the total overall value of your claim*
75 / 25 You will receive 75% of the overall value of your claim*
50 / 50 You will receive half of the overall value of your claim*
25 / 75 You will receive 25% of the overall value of your claim*
* This is subject to any interim payments you have already received, any CRU payments, employer's recoupment of earnings etc. which will be off set against your final award.

Difference between a 50/50 agreement and a 'knock for knock' agreement

A 50/50 split liability agreement should not be confused with a 'knock for knock' agreement.

If liability is agreed on a 50/50 basis, both parties are accepting 50% blame for the cause of the accident, and you will receive 50% of the overall value of your claim from the other side's insurance company.

A 'knock for knock' agreement is where both parties' insurance company will pay the losses sustained by their own policy holder regardless of who was responsible for the accident. It is not an agreement that is used on personal injury claims.



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