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Usually if you are involved in an auto accident, you make sure no one in injured, contact the police if required, exchange details and insurance details, and report the accident to your insurer.

Your insurer usually handles the matter from that point onward, dealing with any repair payments that may need to be made, compensation claims, etc.

That is here in the UK, and was how it is done, for now.

But let’s digress just for a short moment…..

In some places in the world, America for one, there is a practice called contributory negligence, and having worked for a law firm in Washington, D.C. in America, I saw first hand how this doctrine of common law is used and works.

Basically contributory negligence states that if a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence, or that their negligence contributed in part to their injuries, this person would not be entitled to receive any compensation for their injuries from the other party who may have caused the accident.

This doctrine or point of law is now being tested in our courts here by the insurance group Churchill.

The insurer is contending its client who struck a young girl while pulling onto the side of a country lane to avoid oncoming traffic, cannot be held fully at blame as the young girl, a teenager at the time, should have known she needed to be visible at the time of the accident which was at night.

The case is the first to questions a child’s contribution to an accident, and the first in 20 years involving a victim’s responsibility for walking on the road at night.

Of course this is going to be argued about in court and may take some time to settle.   One side states the girl should have taken certain precautions to make herself visible, and the other side states the driver was driving too fast for the road and time of night.

If the insurer win the case, it can drastically reduce the amount of compensation the victim of the accident can claim.

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