Civil Liability & Personal Injury

Under Quebec law, Civil Liability is primarily governed by the following sections of the Civil Code of Quebec:

Section 1457:

Every person has a duty to abide by the rules of conduct which lie upon him, according to the circumstances, usage or law, so as not to cause injury to another.

Where he is endowed with reason and fails in this duty, he is responsible for any injury he causes to another person by such fault and is liable to reparation for the injury, whether it be bodily, moral or material in nature.

He is also liable, in certain cases, to reparation for injury caused to another by the act or fault of another person or by the act of things under his custody.

Section 1458:

Every person has a duty to honour his contractual undertakings.

Where he fails in this duty, he is liable for any bodily, moral or material injury he causes to the other contracting party and is liable to reparation for the injury; neither he nor the other party may in such a case avoid the rules governing contractual liability by opting for rules that would be more favourable to them.

Section 1459: 

A person having parental authority is liable to reparation for injury caused to another by the act or fault of the minor under is authority, unless he proves that he himself did not commit any fault with regard to the custody, supervision or education of the minor.

A person deprived of parental authority is liable in the same manner, if the act or fault of the minor is related to the education he has given him.

Section 1460: 

A person who, without having parental authority, is entrusted, by delegation or otherwise, with the custody, supervision or education of a minor is liable, in the same manner as the person having parental authority, to reparation for injury caused by the act or fault of the minor.

Where he is acting gratuitously or for reward, however, he is not liable unless it is proven that he has committed a fault.

Section 1461: 

Any person who, as a tutor or curator or in any other quality, has custody of a person of full age who is not endowed with reason, is not liable to reparation for injury caused by any act of the person of full age, except where he is himself guilty of a deliberate or gross fault in exercising custody.

Section 1462: 

No person is liable for injury caused to another by an act or omission of a person not endowed with reason except in the cases where the conduct of the person not endowed with reason would otherwise have been considered wrongful.

Section 1463: 

The principal is liable to reparation for injury caused by the fault of his agents and servants in the performance of their duties; nevertheless, he retains his recourses against them.

Section 1464:

An agent or servant of the State or of a legal person established in the public interest does not cease to act in the performance of his duties by the mere fact that he performs an act that is illegal, unauthorized or outside his competence, or by the fact that he is acting as a peace officer.

Section 1465: 

A person entrusted with the custody of a thing is liable to reparation for injury resulting from the autonomous act of the thing, unless he proves that he is not at fault.

Section 1466: 

The owner of an animal is liable to reparation for injury it has caused, whether the animal was under his custody or that of a third person, or had strayed or escaped.

A person making use of the animal is, together with the owner, also liable during that time.

Section 1467: 

The owner of an immovable, without prejudice to his liability as a custodian, is liable to reparation for injury caused by its ruin, even partial, where this has resulted from lack of repair or from a defect of construction.

Section 1468: 

The manufacturer of a movable property is liable to reparation for injury caused to a third person by reason of a safety defect in the thing, even if it is incorporated with or placed in an immovable for the service or operation of the immovable.

The same rule applies to a person who distributes the thing under his name or as his own and to any supplier of the thing, whether a wholesaler or a retailer and whether or not he imported the thing.

Section 1469: 

A thing has a safety defect where, having regard to all the circumstances, it does not afford the safety which a person is normally entitled to expect, particularly by reason of a defect in the design or manufacture of the thing, poor preservation or presentation of the thing, or the lack of sufficient indications as to the risks and dangers it involves or as to safety precautions.

Section 1470: 

A person may free himself from his liability for injury caused to another by proving that the injury results from superior force, unless he has undertaken to make reparation for it.

A superior force is an unforeseeable and irresistible event, including external causes with the same characteristics.

Section 1471: 

Where a person comes to the assistance of another person or, for an unselfish motive, disposes, free of charge, of property for the benefit of another person, he is exempt from all liability for the injury that may result from it, unless the injury is due to his intentional or gross fault.

Section 1472: 

A person may free himself from his liability for injury caused to another as a result of the disclosure of a trade secret by proving that considerations of general interest prevailed over keeping the secret and, particularly, that its disclosure was justified for reasons of public health or safety.

Section 1473: 

The manufacturer, distributor or supplier of a movable property is not liable to reparation for injury caused by a safety defect in the property if he proves that the victim knew or could have known of the defect, or could have foreseen the injury.

Nor is he liable to reparation if he proves that, according to the state of knowledge at the time that he manufactured, distributed or supplied the property, the existence of the defect could not have been known, and that he was not neglectful of his duty to provide information when he became aware of the defect.

Section 1474: 

A person may not exclude or limit his liability for material injury caused to another through an intentional or gross fault; a gross fault is a fault which shows recklessness, gross carelessness or gross negligence.

He may not in any way exclude or limit his liability for bodily or moral injury caused to another.

Section 1475: 

A notice, whether posted or not, stipulating the exclusion or limitation of the obligation to make reparation for injury resulting from the nonperformance of a contractual obligation has effect, in respect of the creditor, only if the party who invokes the notice proves that the other party was aware of its existence at the time the contract was formed.

Section 1476: 

A person may not by way of a notice exclude or limit his obligation to make reparation in respect of third persons; such a notice may, however, constitute a warning of a danger.

Section 1477: 

The assumption of risk by the victim, although it may be considered imprudent having regard to the circumstances, does not entail renunciation of his remedy against the person who caused the injury.

Section 1478: 

Where an injury has been caused by several persons, liability is shared by them in proportion to the seriousness of the fault of each.

The victim is included in the apportionment when the injury is partly the effect of his own fault.

Section 1479: 

A person who is liable to reparation for an injury is not liable in respect of any aggravation of the injury that the victim could have avoided.

Section 1480: 

Where several persons have jointly taken part in a wrongful act which has resulted in injury or have committed separate faults each of which may have caused the injury, and where it is impossible to determine, in either case, which of them actually caused it, they are solidarily liable for reparation thereof.

Section 1481: 

Where an injury has been caused by several persons and one of them is exempted from all liability by an express provision of a special Act, the share of liability which would have been his is assumed equally between the other persons liable for the injury.