What happens in the event of a third party fault or force majeure?

Exception to liability for risk: the holder is released from his responsibility when he proves that the accident was caused by force majeure or by the preponderant fault of a third party.

Definition of force majeure: an unforeseeable and extraordinary event that occurs from the outside with violence that is impossible to prevent. This means that the event must have no connection with the use of the vehicle. A flat tire or engine damage is not a force majeure. In case of the Car wrecks this is one very important aspect.

The Right Examples

Typical examples are natural forces (unexpected fall of an avalanche, falling rocks, etc.). If a passenger is injured or killed because of such an event, the holder and his insurance are not required to assume the consequences. On the other hand, there is no force majeure when a driver loses control of his vehicle because of ice (snow, rain or fog).

Definition of predominant fault: A predominant fault is when someone violates the basic rules of prudence that any responsible and attentive person would have observed in the same circumstances. The person in question must be responsible for his actions (the behavior of children and adolescents is not assessed with the same severity).

Please Note: force majeure and the predominant fault of a third party exclude the holder’s liability only if no fault can be attributed to him. This means that the fault is presumed. The holder cannot invoke force majeure or the preponderant fault of a third party. He must also prove that he himself is absolutely not at fault. If he does not succeed, he remains responsible.

What are the consequences of an accident involving several vehicles?

It is clear that keepers are responsible for the risk inherent in the use of their vehicles. The law lays down various rules in order to determine how much of the damage must be borne by the different protagonists:

Accidents with injuries or deaths: the damage will be shared among all the holders involved according to their responsibility. The various risks inherent in the use of each vehicle will be taken into consideration.

Accident with only crumpled sheet metal: the risk inherent in the use of the vehicles involved plays no role. If a keeper wants to make another holder liable for material damage, he must prove that he / she has committed a fault.

Auto versus auto:

In the event of a crash between two cars, the risks inherent in the use of each vehicle are often identical and offset each other. Consequently, only fault still plays a role in the distribution of damage.

Example: You have violated a priority. A collision with the injured occurred. In such a case, you are responsible as the holder of the entire damage for the injured.

  • If you have committed only a slight fault, the other holder must assume part of the damage due to the risk inherent in the use of his vehicle.
  • If none of the holders is responsible, each of them must pay half of the damage.
  • In the event of sheet metal crumpling: in this case, the risk inherent in the use of the vehicle plays no role. If neither party can prove the fault of the other, each must assume its own damage.

Accidents with cyclists and pedestrians:

Pedestrians and cyclists are only liable in the event of an accident with a motor vehicle if they have committed a fault. The severity of the fault on the one hand and the inherent risk of using the vehicle on the other are decisive. The larger, heavier and faster the vehicle, the more severely the liability will be assessed.