Compensation for road accident victims: find a specialist lawyer

In most cases, being involved in a road accident as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian is eligible for compensation. This financial compensation is generally the responsibility of the offender's insurance and is the result of a medical examination.

A highly regulated procedure

Compensation for victims of road accidents is governed by the Badinter Act of 5 July 1985. This legal text defines the persons entitled to compensation and codifies the obligations of insurance companies. Two types of victims are then distinguished. Drivers are in the first category while passengers, cyclists or pedestrians are in the second category. Damages are paid by the insurer of the person who caused the accident. It may also be the insurance of the vehicle in which the victim was seated as a passenger. When the offender is not insured or has been involved in a hit and run accident, the Mandatory Insurance Guarantee Fund (FGAO) takes over to compensate for the bodily injury. The insurer who must compensate the victim has the duty to propose a final amount within eight months of the accident. This sum is calculated based on the conclusions of a medical expert's report and takes into account each personal injury recorded. However, it is possible to refuse this offer and take legal action through a specialist.

Compensation that is negotiable?

If a road accident victim decides to refuse the insurer's offer, he or she has several options. Assisted by a specialised lawyer, it can therefore take the insurer to court. The victim may choose civil jurisdiction or file a criminal claim for damages. Another possibility exists to benefit from satisfactory compensation for victims. The offer can be negotiated by means of a counterproposal. If the insurer agrees, a settlement by transaction may be made to obtain compensation for the bodily injury. In the event of refusal by the insurer, the legal action is then the appropriate remedy. In all cases, compensation for drivers is only possible when the responsibility for the accident lies with a third party. As a victim, he can only benefit from compensation if he is covered by the driver's insurance. In the event of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a driver is obviously not compensated.

Cases of non-compensation

According to the Badinter Act, any passenger, pedestrian or cyclist who is a victim on the road is eligible for compensation unless he has committed an inexcusable fault known as "exclusive of damage". This is an exceptionally serious misconduct, which unduly exposes the perpetrator to a danger that should have been considered. In addition, a victim who is under 16 years of age may automatically obtain compensation for the damage suffered. This is also the case for people over 70 years of age and at least 80% of them are disabled. These victims are called "privileged" and are deprived of compensation for their bodily injury only in one case: suicide. The compensation offer proposed by the insurer after the accident may also be only provisional and this applies to all types of road accident victims. If the compensation insurance company has not been aware of the victim's condition during the three months following the accident, the time limit for a quantified offer shall be five months after the statement is communicated.
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