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Application for damages

Verified 29 juillet 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Proceedings before civil, social and commercial courts

From 20 November 2020, civil, social and commercial courts may amend the rules of procedure applicable to the cases they are handling, in order to continue their activities during the state of health emergency. Changes may include:

  • Access by the public and lawyers to courts and courtrooms
  • Information by any means of parties who are assisted by a lawyer or who have agreed to receive communications by electronic means
  • Transfer of a case to another court of the same jurisdiction
  • Use of the single judge procedure
  • Conduct of the hearing or hearing by audiovisual means of telecommunication
  • Use of the procedure without hearing

These possibilities for amending the rules of procedure are provided for in Order No. 2020-1400 of 18 November 2020 and decree n°2020-1405 of 18 november 2020 .. They will cease one month after the end of the state of health emergency, on 16 March 2021.

The victim of damage caused by a fault may apply to the court for the person responsible for the fault to be ordered to compensate his damage. It will obtain damages. The victim must clearly establish the harm suffered and provide proof of it. The application may be made in a civil, criminal or administrative case.

Civil case

There are 3 types of injury:

Types of injury

Type

Definition

Physical damage

Harm to the health or physical or mental integrity of a person

Examples:

- Broken leg due to violence or road accident

- Disease caused by a chemical

Moral damage

Attacks on emotional well-being, honor or reputation

Examples:

- Loss of a relative

- Defamation of a person or a society

Material damage

Infringement of a person's property (cars, clothing...) and financial interests (loss of turnover, sums paid unduly...)

All such damage may be compensated by the payment of damages which compensate financially for the damage suffered.

An offense can cause several harms: for example, breaking and entering causes material and moral harm.

Setting up the file

If you are a victim and you wish to obtain compensation, you must file a claim including, for each injury, an assessment of the amount of compensation. The assessment must include costs directly related to the damage suffered.

You must also prove that:

  • your injury was caused by offense,
  • the person to whom you are claiming compensation is responsible harm (offender, legal representative for a minor),
  • the damage is real (the fault has caused you unquestionable damage),
  • the damage is direct and affects you personally,
  • the damage is certain. The damage is established and can be assessed. The assessment can be for immediate damage (cost of a car accident, medical expenses....). It may also be for future damage, if it is certain that the damage will occur and can be assessed immediately. For example: if a person is injured, the impact of the injury on his future situation and the loss of future earnings can be assessed (for example, several days of missed work).

Referral to court

You must apply to the court for compensation for all the damage you have suffered. The judge may not order the accused party to pay more than your claim.

You must present evidence of your prejudice: invoices, photos of the accident...

You can go to a civil court, whether or not the person responsible for the damage has committed a criminal offense. The court of competent jurisdiction depends on the type and amount of the dispute.

The court having jurisdiction shall depend on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For a dispute less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For litigation greater than €10,000, it's the court.

You can also ask the judge to pronounce a penalty.. If the periodic penalty payment is imposed, the person responsible for compensation shall be required to pay an additional sum of money in the event of late payment.

  Please note : the parties may also avoid going to court through amicable agreement..

Once determined by the judge, the victim has a claim on the sentenced person who becomes debtor.. Credence is a right that the victim can use.

The decision of the judge awarding compensation may be enforced in a final or provisional..

In case of difficulty in recovering the sums, it is possible to appeal:

  FYI : in some cases, it is insurance the person responsible for the damage who can compensate the victim.

Criminal case

There are 3 types of injury:

Types of injury

Type

Definition

Physical damage

Harm to the health or physical or mental integrity of a person

Examples:

- Broken leg due to violence or road accident

- Disease caused by a chemical

Moral damage

Attacks on emotional well-being, honor or reputation

Examples:

- Loss of a relative

- Defamation of a person or a society

Material damage

Infringement of a person's property (cars, clothing...) and financial interests (loss of turnover, sums paid unduly...)

All such damage may be compensated by the payment of damages which compensate financially for the damage suffered.

An offense can cause several harms: for example, breaking and entering causes material and moral harm.

Setting up the file

If you are a victim and you wish to obtain compensation, you must file a claim including, for each injury, an assessment of the amount of compensation. The assessment must include costs directly related to the damage suffered.

You must also prove that:

  • your injury was caused by offense,
  • the person to whom you are claiming compensation is responsible harm (offender, legal representative for a minor),
  • the damage is real (the fault has caused you unquestionable damage),
  • the damage is direct and affects you personally,
  • the damage is certain. The damage is established and can be assessed. The assessment can be for immediate damage (cost of a car accident, medical expenses....). It may also be for future damage, if it is certain that the damage will occur and can be assessed immediately. For example: if a person is injured, the impact of the injury on his future situation and the loss of future earnings can be assessed (for example, several days of missed work).

Referral to court

You can claim compensation at a criminal trial if the person responsible for the damage has committed an offense. That's the civil party..

You must apply to the court for compensation for all the damage you have suffered. The judge may not order the accused party to pay more than your claim.

If you cannot be present at the trial, you can send your request for the constitution of a civil party by mail. You must specify the damage and the amount you are claiming. You must apply to the court before the hearing date.

The method of payment and settlement of disputes depends on the situation.

General case

Once determined by the judge, the victim has a claim on the sentenced person who becomes debtor.. Credence is a right that the victim can use.

In the event of difficulties in collecting sums, the Victims of Crime Recovery Service (Sarvi).. This service can directly compensate the victim.

  FYI : in some cases, it is insurance the person responsible for the damage who can compensate the victim.

Conditional sentence

The offender may be sentenced by a criminal court to a suspended prison sentence and compensation to the victim.

The conditions of compensation shall be determined by the enforcement judge.

In case of difficulty in recovering the sums, it is possible to inform:

  • the enforcement judge, the competent judge is the judge of the author's home (if you do not know him, you can write to the court that has pronounced the sentence and will transmit it to the right service),
  • the prison service for the placement and probation of the victim's home,
  • the Victims of Crime Recovery Service (Sarvi).. This service can directly compensate the victim.

  FYI : in some cases, it is insurance the person responsible for the damage who can compensate the victim.

Who shall I contact

Sentence to a term of imprisonment

The perpetrator may be sentenced by a criminal court to imprisonment and compensation for the victim.

The incarcerated person has a nominal account on which money can be paid. Part of this account is reserved for the compensation of civil parties.

In the event of a final conviction, the institution shall be informed of the existence of civil parties and the amount of their claim. The head of establishment must ensure that the sums are regularly paid to the civil parties.

In the event of difficulties in recovering the sums or if the direct levy is insufficient to cover the amount of damages, it is possible to appeal:

  • to a judicial officer to obtain a garnishee on the account of the detained person,
  • to the president of the court (he may decide on a garnishee on the debtor's salary),
  • the judge responsible for the enforcement of sentences responsible for the supervision of the sentenced person (the competent judge is the judge in whose jurisdiction the prison in which the offender is held is located).

A seizure of the property of the detained person may be requested if the previous measures have not been sufficient to cover the amount of damages.

  FYI : in some cases, it is insurance the person responsible for the damage who can compensate the victim.

Administrative case

There are 3 types of injury:

Types of injury

Type

Definition

Physical damage

Harm to the health or physical or mental integrity of a person

Examples:

- Broken leg due to violence or road accident

- Disease caused by a chemical

Moral damage

Attacks on emotional well-being, honor or reputation

Examples:

- Loss of a relative

- Defamation of a person or a society

Material damage

Infringement of a person's property (cars, clothing...) and financial interests (loss of turnover, sums paid unduly...)

All such damage may be compensated by the payment of damages which compensate financially for the damage suffered.

An offense can cause several harms: for example, breaking and entering causes material and moral harm.

Setting up the file

If you are a victim and wish to be compensated for damage caused by a public service, you must file a claim including, for each damage, an assessment of the amount of compensation. The assessment must include costs directly related to the damage suffered.

You must also prove that:

  • your loss was caused by a public service,
  • the person to whom you are claiming compensation is responsible your prejudice (public official responsible for the wrongdoing, public authority responsible for the agent),
  • the damage is real (the fault has caused you unquestionable damage),
  • the damage is direct and affects you personally,
  • the damage is certain. The damage is established and can be assessed. The assessment can be for immediate damage (cost of a car accident, medical expenses....). It may also be for future damage, if it is certain that the damage will occur and can be assessed immediately. For example: if a person is injured, the impact of the injury on his future situation and the loss of future earnings can be assessed (for example, several days of missed work).

Referral to court

The court which considers appeals against a public administration or service shall be the administrative tribunal.. The competent court shall be the court in whose jurisdiction the public administration or service concerned is located.

The public administration or service which is ordered by the administrative court to compensate you must pay you the sum fixed in the judgment.

The decision of the judge granting compensation may be enforced on a final or provisional basis.

  FYI : in some cases, it is insurance the public service responsible for the damage which may compensate the victim.