A Quick History Course on Civil Liability | Lareau - Insurance Brokers
Jonathan Rose-Roy

A Quick History Course on Civil Liability

These days, civil liability coverage is of the utmost importance. In a world of multimillion-dollar lawsuits, it is important to be equipped with the right coverage to protect all of your assets in the event of injury to a third party. But how did civil liability come about? Learn about the history behind this coverage that protects your assets!

Roman Times

While the term “liability” was little known or used in this era, the general concept of civil liability was established in the early Roman era, i.e. 300 BC. The law was instead called Aquilia and was in place to ensure that in the event of an offence (often physical in nature), the person at fault would have to compensate the owner for the value of the offence. In the 18th century, the word “liability” began to appear in dictionaries. However, it was only in the modern era, i.e. in 1884, that official legislation was created to implement compensation for injury to third parties. The purpose of introducing this legislation was to assist and compensate those who were poorer and who had suffered bodily or material injury, without the need to file legal proceedings. Over time, legal institutions made liability more objective and accessible by establishing acts and regulations.

Types of Liability

Today, civil liability is defined as [our translation] “the legal principle whereby an individual is held to repair the harm caused to a third party through the individual’s wrongful acts or omissions or those of people or property for whom or for which the individual is responsible”. Civil liability can originate either from a breach of contract between two parties (contractual) or from situations in which no contract exists (extra-contractual). In all cases, it seeks to provide compensation for the victim’s loss instead of punishing the person at fault, explains Alexandre Dufresne, a lawyer, in his article on this topic. Civil liability insurance protects you against any negligence resulting in material, bodily, or moral injury to a third party.

For an individual or a company to be held liable, three elements must be present:

  • Fault
  • Injury (either material, bodily, or moral)
  • Causal connection

To conclude, while we inherited an important compensation system from our ancestors, the cost of a lawsuit today can reach millions of dollars. Civil responsibility coverage is essential because it protects you no matter where you are in the world. Moreover, in the event of a lawsuit, you will be relieved to have a little help for the legal fees, whether you are liable or not. Feel free to contact your Lareau broker to find coverage tailored to your needs.

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