Absence of an official scale
There are no official scales. The amount of the award is granted on a case-by-case basis, and can vary depending on:
- the age of the victim: the younger the victim the greater the award granted;
- the time when the compensation is granted, since awards have been on the increase over recent years;
- the type of court or official body that has jurisdiction over the case;
- the specific court or official body that is dealing with the case, since some grant higher awards than others.
The amounts insurers are prepared to offer in out-of-court settlements are nearly always less than those that could be obtained in court, since the insurer assumes that the victim is ignorant of his full rights or that he wishes to avoid legal proceedings.
A few examples of payout scales
Certain courts have issued unofficial ‘payout scales’, for example the south west region (comprising the Courts of Appeal of Agen, Bordeaux, Limoges, Pau and Toulouse).
The ONIAM unofficial scales (the agency overseeing cases concerning medical accidents). This serves as a guide to assessing the compensation due to a victim of physical injury. This guide is based on the analysis of a vast number of court decisions. However, it should be used with caution because the ONIAM is the government agency that compensates victims and it might therefore be tempted to try to limit the amounts awarded. The ONIAM guide also includes decisions rendered by administrative courts, which tend to be less generous than civil or criminal courts.
The FIVA unofficial payout scales (the agency that compensates victims of asbestos).
Certain factors can ensure a larger payout
Certain factors, such as ‘loss of future professional income’ or ‘third party assistance’ can lead to substantial awards. The explanation is that the loss of income or the costs of assistance to the victim by a third party tends to be calculated on the probable life expectancy of the victim, and that can be many years. Awards can be in excess of a million euros for a person requiring full time assistance.