An unlawful act is doing (acting) something that causes someone to harm someone else. Note: not doing something can also be unlawful. An example is when someone offers help to a drowning person and could have done so without risking their own life. The law states that if you cause damage to someone else, you must compensate them. In other words, the person who causes the damage is liable.

Requirements for compensation?

You are entitled to compensation if you meet the following points:

  • There is an unlawful act.
  • The wrongful act is attributable to the perpetrator.
  • There is damage.
  • There is a causal link between the tort and the damage.
  • The violated norm protects against the damage caused (relativity).

You must meet all of these requirements. The judge is the one who determines this on the basis of a number of guidelines.

Can the act be attributed to the perpetrator?

Can the tort be attributed to the perpetrator? In other words: is he guilty? If the perpetrator is to blame for the act, he is attributable. An unlawful conduct attributable to the perpetrator is also referred to as an ‘error’.

Whether the act can be attributed to the perpetrator also has to do with liability. The legislator has established rules to protect the victim. It states who is liable for what. For example, parents are often liable for the actions of their children. The owner of an animal is that for the animal. And the owner of a thing for damage caused by that thing. Someone is then liable in a certain capacity.

Is the damage a result of the wrongful act (causality)?

Causality is about the connection between the wrongful act and the damage. To what extent is the damage the result of this act? In other words: would the damage also exist if the wrongful act had not been committed? If the answer is ‘no’, the damage does of course not have to be compensated.

Even if there is a causal relationship, the question remains which part of the damage should be compensated. Can the perpetrator be held liable for all or only part of the damage? It is therefore necessary to look at how much damage can be attributed to the causative agent. You can also consult the professionals of wrongful death lawyer in California for getting more details.

In case of personal injury, the pre-existence and predisposition are also considered. As soon as the medical complaints that were already present prior to the accident and that are comparable to the complaints arising after the accident, these are referred to as pre-existential factors. An example is someone who had back problems before the accident and still after the accident. If a victim has a certain latent vulnerability / predisposition before the accident that makes him susceptible to the occurrence of a certain disease / certain complaints, this is referred to as predisposition. These two factors influence the causal relationship and the amount of damage.