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Denial Of Liability: How to recover compensation when legal fault is not accepted

Denial of liability: find out what a denial of liability is, when it is likely the person at fault will not accept responsibility, how an accident solicitor can help you win your claim and how to ensure you can claim your solicitor costs as well as your compensation.

What is a denial of liability in accident claims?

A "denial of liability" is a phrase to mean the person you hold responsible for your accident denies orally or in writing any fault for your accident and consequently refuses to pay you compensation for your injuries and financial losses.

Denial Of Liability

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When can a denial of legal liability take place

There are three main occasions you might receive a denial of liability:

1. Immediately following your accident

You will often read in insurance policies, such as motor insurance, that if you are involved in an accident you should not accept responsibility and many people who cause accidents take this one step further and deny liability immediately at the accident scene.

I recommend that if you are involved in an accident, even if someone accepts responsibility at the accident scene, you should gather all the evidence - including witness details. You will be surprised how many times a change of heart can occur a few days after an accident especially if you have no evidence to back up your version of events.

it is a common ploy by drivers at fault - who accept liability at a road traffic accident, so you will not gather evidence and give a totally different version of events if you try to make a claim.

2. Following a letter of claim

To notify the person at fault you are making a claim - a formal letter known as a "letter of claim" must be sent. It is very common place that a denial of liability is received in writing following receipt of such a letter.

Remember - a Defendant does not have to pay you compensation unless you can prove you have a claim and can prove the injuries and losses you have suffered. It is therefore very common that a defendant will initially deny liability, which is why you will undoubtedly need the services of a solicitor to enforce your right to compensation by producing evidence to support your claim.

You may have heard the phrase "settle out of court" - this is a term which normally means that the opposition has paid compensation without an "admission of liability". In other words - the Defendant does not formally accept fault, but nonetheless pays your compensation.

This is very common in slip and trip claims made against the council and in work accident claims.

3. Following the issue of proceedings

If you find the person responsible for your accident will not pay you compensation - the only way to enforce your right is to issue proceedings at court.

This is a formal step in which you send a claim form, particulars of claim and a number of other documents to the court who in turn stamp the documents to register your claim has been commenced at court.

The court paperwork is then sent to or "served" on the Defendant who can either admit liability or send a Defence to the court. For the Defence to be a valid - it must contain a denial of liability.

What should you do if you receive a denial of liability?

If you receive a denial of liability - do not panic. Most claims will start with the opposition denying fault or responsibility.

If you have not already done so - you should instruct a specialist accident lawyer to proceed with your claim. Your solicitor will know the documentation which is necessary to support your claim and persuade the person at fault to accept responsibility and make you an offer to settle.

Even with a lawyer's involvement - in many cases your lawyer will have to take the matter to court to force the person at fault to accept liability.

Although it is common that claims will be issued in court - it is very rare that a claim will have to proceed to trial as many Defendants settle before this final expensive stage becomes necessary.

Who pays your solicitor's legal fees in making your claim?

In personal injury claims - so long as your injury is worth over £1000, the loser pays the winners legal costs. In other words - in addition to your compensation the person at fault will pay the costs you have incurred in instructing a solicitor.

Remember - there are various types of insurance policies which can protect you from paying the other side's costs if you lose your claim.

Denial Of Liability Summary

On this page I have set out why a denial of liability is common in accident claims and why you should not worry as your lawyer will know how to ensure you recover the correct amount of compensation.

Click denial of liability if your claim is disputed and you wish to ask me an online question about how to defeat a denial of liability.