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||Accidents resulting in personal injury or death may be caused by own fault but very often another party is to blame. “Slip and fall” cases are judged in a much more restrictive way in Belgium (and in other European countries) as in for instance the USA, as much more emphasis is put on the personal responsibility to avoid such accidents.
The article 1382 of the Belgian Civil Code is applicable, which implies that a compensation will be obtained if the plaintiff proves:
- The damages
- The fault of the defendant
- The link between both
It goes without saying that every case is different; «slipping and falling” in the bath room of a hotel, in a wet environment, will not lead to the responsibility of the hotel owner, unless there is a direct link between his gross negligence or fault and the accident. “Slipping and falling” in a supermarket over some vegetables or a banana peel on the floor will lead to the responsibility of the supermarket if these are found on the floor of the electronics division where they don’t belong.
However, it’s quite logical that a piece of fruit or a vegetable may fall from the shelf in the fruit and vegetables division of the same supermarket. In such an eventuality the supermarket will not be held responsible. Every claim must be judged on its individual merits. We will advise against starting legal proceedings if we are of the opinion that the case has no merits.
Accidents may lead to important international complications. The Belgian Courts are competent and Belgian law will be used if the accident happens in “Belgium”, but this isn’t limited to the geographical boundaries of the Country. The notion of “Belgian territory” includes also accidents on board of Belgian ships, on Belgian planes, on Belgian soil worldwide (embassies), etc. Belgium has also jurisdiction on its territorial sea, which expands for 12 nautical miles from the Belgian shore.