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Who must pay damages to the victim of an injury?

Verified 30 mars 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Civil liability shall lie with the perpetrator of the act or negligence causing the damage. This means that he is the one who must compensate the victim. Compensation to the victim shall consist in compensation for the damage suffered by him as a result of the damage, by paying him damages..

Damage to be repaired may be material (example: loss of a car), moral (example: reputational damage), or bodily harm (injury).

The victim can demand his injury in a civil or criminal trial.

The obligation of the author of the damage to make reparation for the injury of the victim is called the civil liability.. You can be civilly responsible for your own acts, but also for acts committed by third parties or objects for which you are responsible.

General case

A major is liable for damage caused by his own actions. For example, if you deliberately harm a person.

Everyone is also liable for damage caused by his negligence or recklessness. For example, in a traffic accident.

Damage caused by a minor

Parents are responsible for damage caused by their minor children. They are the ones who will have to pay damages to the victim. However, children remain criminally responsible and may be subject to personal criminal sanctions..

Parents are civilly liable if the following 2 conditions are met:

The civil liability of the parents may be incurred as long as the child habitually resides at home, if he was not with them at the time of the realization of the facts which have caused harm to third parties.

Example :

Parents will be civilly responsible for their child's wrongdoing in boarding schools or in summer camps, or even at the home of their grandparents.

If the parents are divorced, it is only the parent with whom the child has his or her usual residence who will be responsible for the damage caused by the child.

Example :

If the child damages a car while he is at his father's who has a right of access, his mother, who has the usual custody, will have to compensate the owner of the car.

Animal damage

The owner of a domestic animal is civilly responsible for his actions and must therefore make reparation for the damage caused to others.

Example :

If a dog bites a passerby.

The owner is responsible even if the animal escaped or went astray, and was therefore alone at the time.

However, it is not possible to be compensated for damage caused by wild animals living freely.

Damage caused by an employee

The employer is responsible for acts committed by an employee in the course of his duties and during his working time.

Damage caused by a defective product

The manufacturer of a defective product must repair damage greater than €500 caused to property, and damage to persons.

Damage caused by a poorly maintained building

The owner of a building (and not his tenant if there is one) is liable if the construction causes damage due to poor maintenance.

Example :

In the event of water damage due to a pipe in poor condition.

Damage caused by crowds or gatherings

The State is civilly responsible for damage to property and damage to persons caused by violent criminal acts committed during gatherings or gatherings.