One important concept to grasp when dealing with physical injury claims is the notion of ‘consolidation’. A person is deemed to be consolidated when the injury has stabilized and is not expected to either improve or deteriorate thereafter. Consolidation can occur within days, months or even years; sometimes however the victim cannot be consolidated (i.e. in the case of incurable cancer).
The victim will be compensated according to his ‘permanent’ injuries such as they can be assessed after consolidation. These are different from temporary injuries.
The underlying idea is that any two people with exactly the same initial injury may heal differently.
For example one person with a broken arm may heal swiftly with no complications, whilst another with a similar injury may suffer a number of complications during the healing process, requiring additional surgical interventions, and may never recover full use of the limb.
The different components of the damages are categorized either according to a traditional listing, or a more recent listing entitled ‘Dintilhac’ after the magistrate who presided over the commission that submitted a report in October 2005 to the Minister of Justice. Click here to read the Dintilhac report.
The Dintilhac list is not mandatory and is not applied by all courts, although under proposed draft legislation this list would be obligatory for physical damage claims. For example, the administrative courts have a tendency to allot an overall award comprising the different components, although this situation will probably change over time.