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Accident of life :

Its definition and legal regime

Article Personal Injury

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  • What is an accident of life?

    By definition, an accident of life is a sudden event that occurs in the course of your private life and that affects your physical integrity.

    The notion of “private life” implies that the accident takes place either inside or outside your home. This excludes any traffic accident or accident that occurred at your place of work.

    An accident in your private life that affects your physical integrity can take several forms.

    The nature of the accident depends on whether it takes place inside or outside your home.

    When the accident occurs inside your home or in its immediate surroundings, it is called a domestic accident. This is the case for poisoning, a fall down the stairs or an injury during a DIY activity. The same applies to an assault, a burn due to a defect in the equipment used, drowning and choking.

    Accidents in private life can occur outside your home. This includes accidents in a store, on the sidewalk, in a school setting, at a daycare center or while playing sports.

    If accidents in private life can result in death, hospitalization, a great handicap for the victim, a permanent functional deficit or a temporary work incapacity, it is not surprising that they represent today the 3rd cause of mortality. The populations most affected by this type of accident are children and the elderly. It is therefore necessary to protect oneself against this risk.

    How to effectively protect oneself against bodily injury caused by an accident of life?

    To protect oneself against this risk, any person can subscribe to an insurer’s guarantee called “life insurance guarantee” also called GAV.

    The GAV is a guarantee that covers the victim in case of damage caused by an accident of life.

    What are the risks covered by the GAV?

    The GAV covers bodily injury resulting from

    Domestic accidents (falls, drowning, poisoning, electrocution, gardening, etc.)
    Domestic violence such as assault and battery, rape or touching.
    Accidents occurring during leisure activities (sports, travel, etc.),
    Natural or technological disasters.

    What are the conditions for obtaining compensation?

    Conditions for compensation

    First of all, the victim must undergo a medical expertise. Then, the medical expert of the personal injury will be able to establish the prejudice(s) suffered by the victim. He will evaluate the prejudices.

    In order to activate the GAV, the intervention of a lawyer specializing in personal injury and insurance law may be appropriate.

    The compensation procedure

    In order to initiate the compensation procedure, it is first necessary to identify the person responsible for the damage.

    Indeed, it is important to distinguish two situations. First, the situation where the victim is responsible for the accident that caused him/her bodily injury. Secondly, the situation where a third party is responsible for the damage suffered by the victim.

    When no fault of the third party is involved and only the victim is responsible for his own damage, he can be compensated by the life insurance guarantee. To do so, he/she must contact his/her insurer and activate the life insurance guarantee. The victim will then benefit from the compensation within the limits of the guarantees provided for in the contract.

    If you are the victim of a crime (theft, violence, etc.) and your loss cannot be compensated by the perpetrator or if the perpetrator cannot be identified, can you claim compensation? The answer is yes.

    The victim of a life accident caused by an unidentifiable third party can request compensation from the Commission d’indemnisation des victimes d’infractions (Civi). The latter will forward your claim to the Fonds de garantie des victimes. The latter will compensate you in the name of national solidarity.

    Moreover, when the third party’s fault is recognized and he is identified, the victim is compensated by the third party’s insurer on the basis of civil liability

    Calculation of the amount of compensation

    The personal injury expert categorizes the damages by item according to the Dintilhac nomenclature. He then evaluates each item of damage. Then, the legal professional will be able to quantify the damages on the basis of the expert’s report. If the reference systems and the jurisprudence allow to estimate the amounts to be claimed, each victim is different and the amounts can vary greatly from one victim to another. It is therefore advisable to be assisted by a professional in order to optimize your compensation in a way that respects your particularity.

    For any assistance in this context, we can direct you to lawyers who are familiar with the subject matter.

    Do not hesitate to contact us