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Report No. 85

Switzerland.- In Switzerland,1 under the Swiss Road Traffic Law, the only defence allowed is that the accident was due to an unavoidable event caused neither by a defect in the condition of the vehicles nor by failure of mechanism2. It appears3 that the Swiss Act4 extends to damage to property as well as to death and bodily injury. The injured person is entitled to compensation unless the defendant proves that the accident occurred fortuitously or through 'serious fault' on the part of the injured person or some third party and that neither he nor any person for whom he was responsible was guilty of fault and that the vehicle concerned was not in a defective condition.

If both parties are partly to blame, liability is apportioned taking account not merely the degree of fault on each side but also 'the operational risks of a vehicle'. As in many 'risk' system countries, the result of this provision is that in many cases, even if the fault is equal, a greater proportion of the blame will be put upon the vehicle user upon the basis that he is using something which is inherently dangerous.

1. Article 591, Swiss Road Traffic Law, (1958).

2. Fleming, comment in (1975) 23 AJCL 513, 518 and footnote 30.

3. Society of Conservative Lawyers, Your Rights, Your Courts, Your Injuries, (1970), p. 81.

4. Haftpflicht and Versicherung Inkrafttreten, 1-1-1980 (Vol. 20-11-1959). Articles 58, 59, 60, 61, 65, 75 and 76.

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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