Civil liability: how does it work?

“Any act whatever of man, which causes damage to others, obliges the one by whose fault it happened to repair it.” In France, article 1382 of the Civil Code obliges any person responsible for damage caused to a third party to compensate for it. This liability of the author of the damage is civil liability. This also includes all damage caused by a voluntary or involuntary action, or by a lack of action.

How to be covered in terms of civil liability?

When a person sees his civil liability engaged, he has the right to operate the guarantee of the same name present in his insurance contract. This civil liability guarantee is found in particular in three main types of insurance for individuals: car insurance, home insurance and school insurance. All car insurance contracts must provide civil liability cover (third-party insurance) to repair possible damage caused by the insured’s vehicle (material damage to another car, injuries caused to another motorist in an accident, etc.). ).

With regard to home insurance, civil liability covers damage caused to others by an element of the dwelling (water leakfire…) and it is mandatory for tenants and the co-owners. Finally, the civil liability of school insurancewhich protects in the event of damage caused by the covered child, is necessary to participate in optional school activities and to eat in the canteen.

It is also possible for an individual to subscribe to a civil liability guarantee (sometimes abbreviated as RC guarantee) only in a dedicated insurance contract. Thus, a private life RC guarantee will cover the insured in his everyday life, for example if he accidentally knocks down an elderly person in the street and causes damage to him. And a holiday RC guarantee is used to be protected throughout your holidays and trips. Civil liability also concerns professionals. Called professional civil liability (RC Pro), this guarantee protects the company that has subscribed to it against physical, material or moral damage caused to third parties. It is compulsory for regulated professions, in particular for health professionals (doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.) who are thus covered in the event of professional misconduct.

What is the extent of the cover provided for civil liability?

If an individual or a professional causes damage to a third party, he must check whether the loss is well covered by his adequate insurance contract: home insurance for a water leak that has spread to the neighbor , the RC Pro for a professional claim… You should also know that it is not only the damage caused by the insured that can trigger the civil liability guarantee. Depending on the contracts, a loss caused by the subscriber’s child or animal, or even by an object placed under his responsibility, may also be covered. This will be the case, for example, of a security camera installed by an individual in front of his gate to monitor his house, which falls and injures a local resident.

Conversely, insurance contracts usually provide exclusions to their coverage. With regard to the civil liability guarantee, this cannot be triggered in particular if the damage was caused intentionally (example: a motorist intentionally drives into a car to hit it), or if the victim is a relative of the insured, or if the insured has injured himself.

How is the civil liability guarantee triggered?

When the civil liability of an insured is engaged and the coverage of the claim is well provided for by the terms of his contract, the civil liability guarantee must be triggered with the insurer. The latter must be contacted within the period indicated in the contract, generally within five working days. This notification of the loss by the insured is done by means of a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt which must include the detailed circumstances of the loss, or online when the insurer allows it. In addition to his account of the facts, the insured can add the testimony of third parties, photos of the loss, etc.

If all the conditions required are met for the coverage of the damage by the insurance, the latter compensates the victim of the loss. Civil liability insurance can also apply a deductible for certain claims, ie it plans to leave a sum (a fixed amount, a percentage of the compensation provided, etc.) at the expense of the insured.

By the editorial staff of the hREF agency

Civil liability: how does it work? – Challenges