Have I won if my op­po­nent ad­mits ‘pri­mary li­a­bil­ity’?

‘It will al­low the de­fen­dant to ar­gue that you were to some de­gree at fault’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - MCN Garage -

I was in­volved in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent last year. I am run­ning the claim my­self and the de­fen­dant’s in­sur­ance com­pany have re­cently writ­ten to me ad­mit­ting ‘pri­mary li­a­bil­ity’ for the ac­ci­dent. Does this mean I have won my case?

Ja­son, Black­burn

In short, it means the de­fen­dant has ad­mit­ted they are at least ‘a bit’ to blame. How­ever, this is not a full ad­mis­sion of li­a­bil­ity and the us­age of the term ‘pri­mary li­a­bil­ity’ is un­for­tu­nate and of­ten mis­ap­plied by de­fen­dants, when what they re­ally mean is that they ad­mit li­a­bil­ity but re­serve the right to raise con­trib­u­tory neg­li­gence and/or med­i­cal cau­sa­tion ar­gu­ments.

A pri­mary li­a­bil­ity ad­mis­sion will al­low the de­fen­dant to ar­gue that you were to some de­gree at fault for the col­li­sion. This has the po­ten­tial to make a huge dif­fer­ence to any dam­ages you re­ceive and means fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions may need to take place. If pos­si­ble we would al­ways try to achieve a full ad­mis­sion of li­a­bil­ity where the de­fen­dant ac­cepts 100% fault for the ac­ci­dent and, sub­ject to any med­i­cal cau­sa­tion ar­gu­ments, will mean that you re­ceive 100% of your com­pen­sa­tion.

It is im­por­tant to clar­ify what the de­fen­dant is try­ing to say in your case. The de­fen­dant may sim­ply have mis­used the term and may still in­tend pay you 100% of your claim. It is there­fore im­por­tant to clar­ify with the de­fen­dant what they mean by their ad­mis­sion be­fore ac­cept­ing any set­tle­ment of­fer.

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