March 18, 2024

Making a second compensation claim for injury after an accident in France – what you need to know.

Posted in Injury, International

In most legal systems, when you have received compensation for your injuries and losses after an accident, you cannot claim again. The settlement or award of damages is final and covers all your damage and loss since the accident and for the future.

What happens if I have an accident in France, then?

French law is different: victims of an accident or medical negligence in France can claim a second (or more) time(s) if their condition deteriorates to an extent that was not envisaged at the time of the initial settlement or judgment.

How can I claim a second compensation?

If you suffered a serious accident in France in the past and already received compensation but your condition has gone worse, you may be entitled to make a new claim for the additional damage, pain, suffering, incapacity, care needs and any financial losses associated with the aggravation.

Any new compensation will be on top of what was awarded initially, i.e., not for the same damage, but for the additional damage.

The extent of the aggravation will have to be confirmed by a medico-legal expert, attributed to the original incident and sufficiently severe to increase your level of suffering, your permanent incapacity, your needs for care and assistance, your ability to work etc.

What type of aggravation can I claim for?

This may involve, for instance: surgical intervention to a limb, joint or other part of the body that was initially injured (including joint replacement / prothesis), the development of osteoarthritis to the extent that further treatment is required, or that you are now unable to work and/or to function independently.

Because an aggravation claim is always made by reference to the initial claim, it is crucial to have the documents related to the original claim, such as the medical expert’s report(s) and the terms of settlement or judgment.

For what type of accidents can I claim a second time?

It is possible to make a second (or more) claim for all types of incidents, including:

Is there a time limit?

It does not matter when the accident occurred: it may be as long as 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. What is important is to identify when your condition started to deteriorate, and when the aggravation stabilised: these are medical questions which will be subject to expert evidence. When the aggravation is considered ‘consolidated’ (stabilised), you will still have 10 years to start a claim. However, you should not delay seeking legal advice, as this is not necessarily a straightforward question.

Example of a second compensation claim

Our client D.T. was struck by a bus in France in 1995 when he was aged 18 and suffered severe pelvic/hip fractures and internal injuries. After his initial rehabilitation, he instructed lawyers in France to pursue a claim for him against the bus company. D’s compensation was set by the court in a judgment in 2008, for his pain and suffering, temporary incapacity, permanent incapacity according to the experts at the time, and other heads of loss, such as his care needs.

A few years later, D.T. had to have hip replacement surgery. It was known at the time of the first claim that there was a high risk in the future that he would need a hip replacement, but this was not subject to compensation at the time. Once the risk realised (i.e., he underwent surgery), he was able to claim for the pain, suffering and temporary incapacity since his hip became so bad as to require the surgery and until consolidation after the operation, as well as his care needs related to the aggravation, and the additional permanent incapacity he suffered after the aggravation and for the foreseeable future.

Whilst his initial claim was ordered in the region of what would now be about £400,000, he obtained a second settlement of over £300,000.

Looking to make a personal injury claim in France?

Contact our specialists in foreign accident claims, and we’ll help you understand whether you have a claim for compensation.

Call now

Holiday accident claims >

More insights from our injury team

View more articles related to Injury