helping volunteers incurs civil liability

By helping someone voluntarily, we engage our responsibility if we create damage, the Court of Cassation ruled.

There is no distinction depending on whether the damage caused results from a clear fault or simple imprudence, explained the judges of the Court of Cassation in a judgment rendered on January 5. The question arose between two friends, one of whom had intervened to work on the roof of the other. The helping friend having set fire during a welding, the insurer of the building demanded reimbursement of the compensation of 130,000 euros paid to the owner.

Volunteer aid is not responsible for damage caused by simple carelessness, replied the amateur roofer who refused to pay. The fault of imprudence is not serious enough, he considered, to engage the responsibility.

Civil liability: insurance guarantees and certification

But the judges rejected this claim. Anyone who helps volunteers concludes without knowing it with the one he helps a voluntary assistance agreement and therefore engages by contract his responsibility for any damage he could cause, they ruled, that this results from a serious fault as simple imprudence.

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Last May, in a case of an accident that occurred during a move between friends, the Court had ruled that the person liable for the damage suffered by one of the parties due to the gross negligence of another was mainly the beneficiary of the aid which had to organize aid in such a way as to guarantee the safety of carers, its own safety and that of its property.

Moving, work… Asking friends for help can be very expensive

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