Civil liability law

French law firm intervening in civil liability cases

Civil liability is the obligation to repair the damage caused to others.

It may be incurred, most often, because of a fault of the perpetrator that has directly and definitely caused the victim’s damage. This is known as fault-based liability.

Some legal systems that are more favourable to victims do not require proof of fault on the part of the perpetrator. In civil matters, the victim can thus benefit from a liability regime without the notion of fault. This is the case, for example, with the 1985 Badinter Act on compensation for victims of traffic accidents, the system of liability for damage to property, the system of liability for damage to animals, etc. It is also the case, but to a lesser extent, with the liability systems applicable to defective products and air accidents.

More often than not, the victim of an accident does not have all the elements required to demonstrate the existence of these three fundamental elements of civil liability (fault, damage, causal link).

Therefore, before starting a civil liability action, we attach paramount importance to this preliminary stage of any action for compensation, which is strategic in the success of the claim.

This preliminary assessment can be very thorough. Most often, we use judicial and extra-judicial procedures to gather evidence, before any legal action on the merits, which is the one through which compensation is sought.

Once the necessary data has been collected, we analyse it to propose a more refined legal strategy and thus launch the compensation proceedings or initiate an amicable process.

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Examples of cases

Aviation :

  • Boeing 737 Max crash of flight ET 302 Ethiopian Airlines on March 10, 2019 as Helicopter crash in French Guyana on May 2, 2018
  • Super Puma EC 225 crash on April 29, 2016 in Norway
  • Collision between two helicopters on March 9, 2015 in Argentina as part of the Show Dropped
  • Germanwings accident on March 24, 2015
  • Helicopter crash in Libourne on December 20, 2013

Sports accidents :

  • Scuba diving accident in Gabon.
  • Paragliding accident during a Paragliding World Cup event in 2017.
  • Ski accidents in France.
  • Formula 1 crash at Japanese Grand Prix on October 5, 2014.

Traffic accidents:

  • Pile-up accident on a motorway in France, involving a UK-registered vehicle transporting English victims.
  • Fatal traffic accident in France involving a French registered vehicle and an English pedestrian victim.
  • Fatal traffic accident in France involving a French registered service vehicle and a French victim on a bicycle.
  • Traffic accident in France involving a French-registered hire car with English victims on board.
  • Traffic accident in France involving a service vehicle registered in France and a French victim.