Last week, I wrote a post about compensation in tort law. Although ‘tort law’ is not often mentioned, many stories in the newspapers relate to this area of law.
Take your favourite newspaper. Look for stories about people who want compensation against somebody else who have done a wrong to them.
Let’s take an example. David is crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing. Philip who has just passed his driving test is running over David. David suffers a serious head injury which affects his abilities of thinking and concentration.
As a result of these injuries, David cannot go back to his office job as an accountant. David will seek to obtain compensation.
He will sue Philip who is likely to be liable for the tort.
Tort law is concerned with civil liability. Civil liability is imposed when a tort is committed. A tort implies a breach of a duty which is determined by the law. It can lead to litigation between the wrongdoer and the victim and the objective is to compensate the victim for the wrongdoing.
To my great surprise, compensation in the UK does not take into consideration the degree of fault when the wrongdoer acts.
This is certainly a major difference with the French tort system: according to the degree of fault, it will be more or less easy for the victim to show evidence of the harm done and obtain compensation, as a result of it.
In the British system, a defendant who lacks experience or is distracted for a second may end up paying the same damages as one who shows considerable carelessness.
There is certainly a lot to say about tort law which does not seem to compensate fully and adequately victims both in France and the UK. However, defendants seem to be in a better position in France than in the UK, where the system appears to cause injustice to some of them.
Click here to read an introduction to tort law in France