Personal Injury

Personal Injury Law

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If you suffered a personal injury, illness or accident in Italy and you want to take legal action to get the right compensation, you need to act as soon as possible because there are strict time limits to respect according to Italian law.

You are supported by us every step of the way. We explain your legal rights and act on your behalf taking care of all the administrative aspects making sure you get an adequate and appropriate compensation. If necessary, we take your case to the court. 

We have been dealing with personal injuries claims since 2007, and we have always aimed to assess the best way to prove the damage suffered. So, while you focus on getting better, we fight to protect your interests.

Be aware that your damages could not only be physical but also mental. Moreover, from a financial point of view, you may be entitled to get compensation not only for the money you lost but also for the money you could have earned if you had not suffered your injury. 

Contact us to discuss your case. We will reply to you as soon as possible.

The Italian legal system provides for different types of liability, the violation of which results in an injury:

Contractual liability: that is the one which arises from breach of contract. Pursuant to article 1218 of the Italian Civil Code, “the debtor who does not perform the service due is obliged to pay compensation for the damage if they do not prove that the non-fulfilment or delay had been caused by the impossibility of performing the service due to reasons for which they are not responsible”.

Non-contractual liability: that is the one which concerns any act done with intent or gross negligence that causes unjust damage to others. Pursuant to article 2043 of the Italian Civil Code, “whatever malicious or negligent misconduct which results in unfair damage to another person, obliges who committed it to pay the compensation”.

Therefore, whilst contractual liability implies a bond between the agent and the breached party that derives from the unfulfillment of a pre-existing obligation, non-contractual liability punishes unlawful conducts which affect somebody to whom the agent is not bound by relationship whatsoever; not only is its function restorative, but also preventive and sanctioning.

The Italian legal system then identifies different types of compensable damage, depending on the type of damage caused:

Pecuniary loss, which occurs when it causes a decrease in assets in a readily definable amount of money. Within this category, it is possible to distinguish between the emerging loss, i.e. the actual loss suffered, and the loss of profit, i.e. the future loss of earnings;

Non-pecuniary loss, which occurs when the prejudice is not immediately quantifiable economically, such as inner suffering, physical and mental disability and the deterioration of a person’s quality of life.

Personal injury compensation may be obtained not only by taking legal action against the agent, but also as a result of “mediation” or “assisted negotiation”; both procedures, which are mandatory in some fields such as personal injury compensation resulting from vehicles or boats and medical liability, aim to settle the dispute by reaching an agreement between the parties without having to go through the court.

Contact us to receive assistance. We look forward to working with you.

How to Quantify the Damage

A damage can be quantified by taking into account two elements: the non pecuniary loss and the pecuniary loss.

The non pecuniary loss, also known as biological damage, refers to the physical or mental trauma, which can be reversible or in some cases even permanent. It is advisable to contact a consultant or a coroner to schedule a medical appointment in order to evaluate the size and the consequences of the injuries suffered. 

On the basis of the consultalt/coroner’s medical report, it is then possible to proceed with the objective quantification of the non-pecuniary loss through the tables of compensations, which are periodically updated, by taking into account the following elements:

  • the personal injury suffered;
  • its size (“punti di invalidità”);
  • the percentage of invalidity caused (“percentuale di invalidità”);
  • its duration (in days if reversible);
  • the age of the person that suffered the personal injury.

To briefly explain, the system works in a way that the bigger the size of the injury and the younger the person that suffered is, the most the value of the damage increases. 

On the contrary, the pecuniary loss is the sum of :

  • the lack of earning due to the impossibility to work, which has to be determined by taking into account your employment and your working income;
  • the expenses derived by the personal injury. It is therefore important for you to know that their quantification cannot be flat-rate as you will be asked to justify the amount claimed. In order to obtain a full compensation it is, therefore, advisable to keep all the medical and non-medical expenses (i.e. receipts from the pharmacy, further doctor’s appointments, taxi from the hospital, etc.).  

Road Traffic Accidents

A road traffic accident occurs every time a vehicle circulating collides with another vehicle, an object or even a person.

Since 2007, our personal injury law practice has been assisting clients on claims for:

  • Car accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Bus and tram accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents

Car Accidents

Car Accident - Personal Injury

If you were involved in a car accident in Italy and you suffered a personal injury and you feel lost among the Italian bureaucracy or confused about the step to be followed to obtain compensation, you can rely on our assistance.

The first thing to know is that in Italy it is mandatory to insure cars with specific insurance called RCA (“Responsabilità Civile Auto”). The insurance plays an important role in car accident claims as, through the policy paid, they take care of the damages, both material and personal, caused by the vehicle to third parties in case of an accident.

Secondly, you have to pay attention that car accident claims have a time limit of two years from the accident. However, the limitation period can be interrupted by sending a registered letter to the relevant insurance before its expiration and from this date another period of two years restarts. 

Remember that if the traffic police (polizia locale) went to the place of the accident, it is your right to ask and have a copy of the report within 30 days in case of damages to things, or 120 in the presence of personal injuries. 

What Can I Claim in Compensation

You can claim in compensation:

  • the damages caused to your vehicles;
  • damages to the things you were carrying;
  • the personal injury you suffered.

An accurate evaluation represents a crucial part of your claim and for this reason it might be necessary to engage with a professional. For example, in case of damages to your vehicle it is advisable to contact a mechanic, suggested by the insurance or chosen by you, as the compensation will be quantified by taking into account the required fixing expenses and the value of your car. In this last case, in presence of major damages, there also might be the possibility to ask compensation for the loss of use of the vehicle (fermo tecnico) if you had to lease another car, take taxis, or public transportation while yours was under reparation. Be aware that these expenses have to be justified, it is therefore advisable to keep the receipts.

If you came to Italy and rented a car you should take into account the following elements:

  • the insurance coverage for accidents or damages to the vehicle;
  • the allowance (“franchigia”), the amount you will be asked to directly pay in case of accident;
  • the limit of liability (“massimale”) covered by the rental car company. 

If you had an accident with a rental car, you have to immediately inform the rental car company and send them any relevant documentation in your possession (i.e. “Constatazione amichevole”, police report, photos, witnesses, etc).

How to Claim Compensation

Pursuant to the Italian law, there are two possible ways to claim for compensation, which are strictly related to the dynamics of the car accident: direct compensation and ordinary compensation.


– Direct Compensation (“risarcimento diretto”) 

According to legislative decree n. 209 of 2005 direct compensation is possible if:

  • only two vehicles were involved in the accident;
  • both the vehicles had an insurance and an Italian number plate;
  • only the vehicles  were damaged;
  • the drivers suffered minor personal injury;
  • other people (i.e. the passenger) were not injured.

In this case the drivers can complete and sign the jointly-agreed statement for insurance purposes (“constatazione amichevole”), which is a standard form that allows to precisely identify when, how and where the car accident took place.

This is possible through the information the drivers are asked to provide: 

  • personal data of the drivers and the insurance owners;
  • number plates of the vehicles;
  • insurance and policy number;
  • date and place of the accident;
  • description of the dynamics of the accident
  • presence of damages and personal injury;
  • presence of any witnesses (please note in case of damages only to things the presence of witnesses has to be immediately indicated to the insurance).

It is important for you to know that by signing the “constatazione amichevole” you agreed with the dynamics of the accident described.

In case the drivers do not want to use the “constatazione” or if they do not have a form, there is also the possibility to ask for direct compensation without it. However, in  this case it is essential to provide to your insurance with a duly reconstruction of the dynamics of the car accident.

Please note that the presence of the “constatazione” has the perks of accelerate the procedure, in any case your insurance has to contact you and make an offer within:

  • 30 days if the constatazione was jointly signed by both the drivers;
  • 60 days in case to damages to things;
  • 90 days in case of personal injury.

If you agree with the offer, you will be paid within 15 days from your approval. 

Please note that if you agree with the offer from the insurance, it will not be possible for you to avance any more claims. 

The direct compensation procedure is the fastest and, when possible, it is advisable to follow it. However, in case you do not receive an offer, you do not agree with it, or if you do not want to follow this procedure, you have the possibility to make your claim through the ordinary compensation. 


– Ordinary Compensation (“risarcimento ordinario”)

Ordinary compensations are necessary if:

  • more than two cars were involved in the accident;
  • pedestrians or bikers were involved in the accident;
  • one of the vehicle involved was foreigner;
  • in presence of major personal injury;
  • if the direct compensation procedure was refused.

In this case, the claim for compensation has to be formally requested to the insurance of the person who caused the accident. In Italy, a formal request (“diffida”) can be done through a registered letter (raccomandata) or PEC (registered email). In the request it is necessary to provide the insurance with all the information related to the dynamics of the accident.

If the accident caused:

  • damages to things it is necessary to indicate the claimant’s name along with the place, days (at least five) and times during whom the insurance can examine the damaged things. After 60 days from the evaluation, 30 if in presence of the constatazione amichevole jointly signed by the parties involved in the car accident, the insurance will provide you with an offer or explain you the reasons why they cannot proceed with an offer;
  • personal injury or, in the worst case scenario, death it is necessary to indicate the claimant’s data and to provide the insurance with the relevant medical documentation. In this case the insurance might ask you to be examined by a coroner and it has to provide you with an offer within 90 days. 

In either cases applies the duty to cooperate with the insurance so that it is possible to evaluate the damage suffered.

Once you received the offer you can accept it, not reply or refuse the compensation. In each case the insurance will send you the amount offered. If you refused the amount, the payment will be considered a retainer of the full and final compensation.

If you refuse the offer, before filing a lawsuit, you have to first enter a mediation (“mediazione”) or a conciliation (“conciliazione”) before the relevant conciliation body

Please note that in case a foreign vehicle is involved in the car accident, the request of compensation has to be sent to National Motor Insurance Bureau (Ufficio Centrale Italiano)

Conciliation

The conciliation (“conciliazione paritetica”) came into force after an agreement between the National Association for Insurance (ANIA) and some consumers’ associations. 

This procedure is possible only if:

  • your claim for compensation is lower than € 15.000;
  • the insurance did not reply to your claim or denied an offer;
  • you did not accept the offer.

It is possible to proceed in front of the court if this procedure does not end with an agreement within 30 days. 

Mediation

The mediation (“mediazione”) is possible for any amount and it has to be started before the relevant conciliation body (“organismo di mediazione”) with the assistance of a lawyer. The duration of the mediation is strictly related to the willingness of the parties to find an agreement. It has to be completed within three months from the submission of the application. 

Once the mediation is started there might be the following possible scenarios:

  • all the parties appear and find an agreement;
  • all the parties appear but they are not able to find an agreement;
  • not all the parties appear and therefore it is not possible to find an agreement.

Remember that in case of car accidents it is mandatory to start either a conciliation or a mediation, as without it is not possible to proceed with any legal action in front of the court. Please note that the failure of the extrajudicial attempt due to non-appearance or no cooperation of a party, will be taken into account by the Judge on their decision on the refusal of legal fee.

When the Responsible of the Car Accident Cannot Be Identified

In case the car accident was caused by:

  • non identified cars (limited to personal injury);
  • vehicles without insurance or insured by a company going bankrupt;
  • stolen vehicles;

you have the possibility to claim for compensation to the “fondo di garanzia per le vittime della strada”, whose aim is to restore the damages and the personal injuries suffered in the above cases.

You should be aware that the fund compensation has a maximum, which is different in case of damages to things and of personal injuries. The maximum is determined by the law into force at the time of the accident and it is periodically updated. 

Medical Malpractice

When you turn to a health facility for a consultancy or a treatment, you entrust yourself to the health providers’ professionalism and experience. However, in some cases, you might find yourself disappointed or, even worst, a victim of medical malpractice.

If you are wondering what “medical malpractice” means, this expression covers every case of damage caused by carelessness, abuses, omissions, structural shortages or lacks of deontology both from the health facility and the health professionals.

If you suffered a personal injury caused by medical malpractice you have the right to ask for compensation as the right to health is qualified by the Italian constitution as fundamental and primary (art. 32). In case you lost a dear one due to wrongful death you have the right to claim for compensation for your loss.

The right of compensation is not endless, but, on the contrary, it is subjected to a time limit fixed by the law in 10 years. This means that if this term expires, you lose the possibility to claim for compensation.

Pursuant to the Italian law (L. 24/2017, the so-called “law Bianco-Gelli”), medical malpractice might arise responsibilities within: 

  • the health facility (both public and private);
  • the health professional.

In order to claim for compensation you need to prove the following elements:

  • the negligence;
  • the causal nexus, which is the link between the negligence and the damages you suffered;
  • the personal injury.

On the other side, the health facility and the professional will have to prove that the damage you suffered was not a consequence of their actions and that they did everything possible to avoid it. 

How to Claim Compensation

In order to obtain compensation for the damages suffered due to medical malpractice in Italy you have to follow a judicially predetermined path, which is highly advisable to walk since from its real beginning with the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer.

As a first step, it is necessary to send to the health facility and to the health professional, if applicable, a formal request (“diffida”) asking them to proceed with the compensation of your damage within at least 10 days. They will then reply to the request:

  • recognizing the damage and starting a negotiation to quantify the compensation;
  • rejecting your claim and your right to compensation.

If this first attempt to obtain compensation fails, you have to start a mediation (mediazione) before the relevant conciliation body (organismo di mediazione). This procedure has to be completed within three months. 

Please note that the mediation is paramount as the law specify that without it is not possible to proceed with legal action. This pushes the parties to find an agreement and therefore to discourage to involve a judge to decide.

During the mediation there might be the following scenarios:

  • all the parties appear and they are able to find an agreement;
  • all the parties appear, but they cannot find an agreement;
  • only one party, or not all of them, participates.

Only if this second attempt of compensation also fails, it is possible to proceed with a lawsuit before the relevant court. 

If you feel to be a victim of medical malpractice in Italy do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. 

Slip and Fall

You were in Italy walking on a street and you fell due to a hole, dismal street or an open manhole, or shopping in a mall and you slipped on a wet floor, or again you were doing the grocery and you slipped on unswept leaves and you badly injured yourself.

Pursuant to art. 2051 of the Italian civil code it is responsible for this kind of damages who is in charge of the maintenance and safety of the streets, shops, unless if in presence of a fortuitous event. This means that, unless in case of an event out of control, if you slip and fall you have to ask for compensation to whom did not prevent you from slip and fall, whose responsibility you will have to prove.

Please note that to claim for compensation you have to prove the following elements:

  1. the hidden danger;
  2. the personal injury you suffered;
  3. that you slipped and fell only because of the hidden danger.

In order to do so, it is strongly advisable to take some pictures, to indicate witnesses, if present, and to keep the medical documentation along with any expenses related to the accident.

Be aware that if, for example, you were using your phone without paying enough attention to where you were going, it would be hard to prove that you slipped and fell because of a hidden danger out of your control. 

In any case, you can claim for compensation by sending a formal request (via registered letter, PEC or FAX) to the responsible of your slip and fall. In case your claim is not recognized or the out of court negotiation fails, it is possible to file a lawsuit before the relevant court.

Construction Accidents

Accidents can happen frequently on construction sites and they might cause:

  • a workplace injury;
  • an injury to any person passing by due to the lack of warning signals, plasters or ruins falling, or again exposed tubes and cables;
  • damages to the things in the nearby (i.e. parked cars, buildings, roads);
  • damages to the same building under a construction contract.

Workplace Injuries

During employment relationships, it might happen to have a workplace injury. As a first thing, pursuant to the Italian law, a workplace injury is a traumatic event due to an accident on the workplace or during work time, that causes the impossibility to work for more than three days. This means that for a workplace injury to occur there has to be a link between the accident and the working activity and it has to last at least for three days.

In case of injury, it is the worker’s duty to immediately warn the employer about it, regardless of the size of the personal injuries suffered, and to go to the hospital or to the occupational doctor/family doctor explaining how and where the accident took place. The doctor will evaluate the personal injury you suffered, quantify the impossibility to work and provide you with medical documentation attesting them. Your employer, after receiving the medical certificate, will have to communicate your injury to the INAIL, the National Institute for insurance against accidents at work.

In case of impossibility to work due to workplace injuries you are guaranteed to:

  • keep your job for the time fixed by the law, the relevant collective labour agreement (“contratto collettivo di lavoro”), custom or equity;
  • receive a percentage of your salary and an allowance from the INAIL, both determined on the basis of the size of the personal injury and of the required time to fully recover.

If your employer is responsible for the workplace injury you suffered for non-compliance or failure to comply with safety features, you have also the right to ask them for compensation both for the pecuniary loss and the non-pecuniary loss, along with the allowance issued by the INAIL.

In order to ask for compensation you will have to file a lawsuit against your employer indicating the safety features he violated as it is your duty to prove your employer’s responsibility for the injuries you suffered.

In case you suffered a personal injury while commuting by foot or with public transportation, you may be entitled of the right for compensation if you prove:

  • the working purposes;
  • the habituality of your route;
  • the time compatibility.

On the contrary, if you used a private vehicle (i.e. bike, car, scooter, moto) the compensation is also subject to the proof that their use was indispensable.

Ruined Holiday Damages

You planned your dream travel in Italy and it turned into a nightmare due to no fault of your own. If the quality and the standards offered did not comply with the reality, you may be entitled to the right of compensation for ruined holidays.

In this case, you can claim in compensation:

  • the pecuniary loss, the expenses related to the holiday;
  • the damage caused by the loss of relaxation and leisure due to the ruined holiday, which will be equitable determined.

Remember that it is your duty to prove:

  • the contract with the tour operator;
  • any situation that caused you damage, through photos, video, witnesses and any relevant proof.

It is always advisable to formally inform the tour operator about any undesired event, this might allow the tour operator to remedy to the damages you are suffering.

In any case, within 10 days from your return, you have to send a formal complaint, through a registered letter (“raccomandata”) or PEC, to the tour operator asking for compensation for your ruined holiday. It is advisable to attach any proof of the distress you suffered.

The claim for compensation for a ruined holiday is subject to a time limit of 3 years from the date of return from your trip or in the longer period foreseen by the provisions that regulate the services included in the package.

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