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Tort Law FAQ – a Damages Lawyer in Israel Answers your Questions

יהודה אלחרר
יהודה אלחרר

In the following article, I will share my expertise as a damages lawyer in Israel and answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding local tort law. Tort law is the legal field concerned with seeking compensation for damages caused by wrongful and harmful behavior. This FAQ will cover many diverse topics, such as the legal definition of a tort, who bears liability for a defective product, and how to seek compensation after being harmed in a hit-and-run accident. See our list of articles on damages law in Israel.

Our law firm, Decker, Pex, Levi & Co, specializes in Israeli civil law and has offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. If you have any additional questions, my colleagues and I are available to help. Contact us at [email protected] or call 03-3724722. 

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Can I file a damages claim in Israel?

If someone in Israel has wrongfully caused you harm or losses, you should sue them for damages. That is your right regardless of whether you are a resident of Israel. Be sure to hire a tort attorney in Israel who knows all the intricacies of Israeli law. To learn about damages claims in Israel, see Israeli Tort Attorney.

What is a tort?

A tort (avla in Hebrew) is any wrongful act that causes harm to another person. Any victim of a tort can file a financial compensation lawsuit. The perpetrator is legally liable for their actions and must pay damages to the claimant. You can read our article Advice from an Israeli Tort Attorney to learn about tort law in Israel.

What does Dinei Nezikin mean?

Dinei Nezikin is the Hebrew term for Tort law. It is the branch of civil law concerned with torts (avlot in Hebrew) and civil wrongs. The primary source for tort law in Israel is the Civil Wrongs Ordinance, alongside legal precedents and various legislations. For information on Dinei Nezikin, see my introduction to tort law in Israel

What is the legal definition of negligence in Israel?

In Israel, the Civil Wrongs Ordinance defines the civil wrong called negligence. If careless behavior harms another person, that behavior is negligence (in Hebrew, rashlanut). Medical malpractice is a prominent example of professional negligence. See my article Advice from a Damages Lawyer in Israel for further info.

What is required to prove negligence?

When suing in Israel for negligence, your damages lawyer must prove the four elements of negligence:

  1. The defendant had a duty of care for the plaintiff. 
  2. The defendant perpetrated a breach of duty by behaving carelessly.  
  3. The plaintiff suffered harm. 
  4. The defendant was the cause of that harm.

Read about filing a negligence lawsuit in Israel to discover how to receive compensation in negligence cases.

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What qualifies as a breach of duty?

The law requires all people to act cautiously, responsibly, and with consideration for the safety of others. Employers have specific responsibilities for the well-being of their employees, as do medical professionals for their patients. In legal terms, this is called the duty of care. When a person behaves carelessly and thus causes damage to another individual, that is called a breach of duty. You can find a thorough explanation regarding the duty of care by an Israeli tort attorney.

What is a breach of statutory duty?

A breach of statutory duty is a civil wrong distinct from negligence. Negligence violates the duty of care – a general responsibility to be reasonably cautious for others’ safety. In contrast, a statutory duty is a public responsibility established by law or governmental decree. For example, you can sue your municipality for violating a statutory duty if it fails to provide proper sanitation services to your particular neighborhood. See our article Tort Law in Israel for more on this subject.

Can I ever sue my employer for damages incurred outside work hours? 

Work accidents in Israel refer to more than just accidents at the workplace. For example, accidents during social events arranged by your workplace are work accidents. Moreover, the definition of work accidents in Israel includes accidents during your commute to and from work. See our article Work Accidents in Israel, to learn more.

The definition of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is a particular type of professional negligence. A medical professional has an inherent duty of care to their patients. If they are not as careful as a reasonable person trained in that profession should be and thus cause harm to the patient, they are liable for the damage caused. On our site, you can find a thorough explanation by a medical malpractice lawyer.  

Can I sue for emotional distress?

In Israel, you can file a claim for damages from a person who committed a careless act that caused you emotional distress. Sometimes the emotional distress claim can be one element in a damages lawsuit that involves personal injuries or financial harm. It is possible to sue over emotional damage alone (such as in the case of an employer being cruel or emotionally abusive towards their employee). If you can show specific financial losses resulting from the emotional distress, you can sue for compensatory damages (for example, the cost of your mental health treatment). Additionally, you can sue for non-pecuniary damages for your pain and suffering. These damages can amount to tens of thousands of shekels in certain situations. Read more about seeking compensation for emotional distress

Damages Lawyer in Israel - electrical fire    

Can I file a product liability claim in Israel?

In Israel, you can file a claim for damages if a defective product, or a product sold without adequate safety instructions, causes a personal injury or damage to your property. The Israeli manufacturer is liable for the damage. If it is an imported product, you should sue the Israeli importer. See the article – Product Liability in Israel.

What is a bodily injury according to Israeli law?

In Israeli law, the definition of bodily damage encompasses both physical injuries and psychological harm caused by a physical injury or a traumatic event. Moreover, bodily damage includes damage to essential medical devices. Note that death is a bodily injury in Israeli law. Therefore, the heirs and dependents can sue for compensation from those liable for the victim’s death. To learn about bodily injury liability, see Bodily Damage in Israel

Is assault considered a tort?

Assault is both a crime and a tort in Israeli law. Therefore, after a criminal court finds a person guilty of assault, the victim can file a civil suit against their assailant for financial compensation. For more on this topic, see Compensation for Assault.   

Are personal injuries from a car accident treated the same as other torts?

In Israel, compensation for bodily harm that results from traffic accidents is different from compensation for damage caused by other torts. Car insurance is obligatory in Israel. Therefore, after a car crash, the insurance companies are liable for any damage or injury. See Road Accident Victims for more details.

Damages Lawyer in Israel - woman suffering from whiplash after car crash

How do I file a bodily injury claim after a hit-and-run?

If a driver caused you an injury and then illegally fled the scene, you are still eligible for compensation. If their identity is unknown, you can sue for damages from a government fund called Karnit instead of the driver’s insurance provider. For detailed advice on the matter from a damages lawyer, see our article – hit-and-run car accidents.

Is there a statute of limitations for filing a damages claim in Israel? 

Per the Israeli Law of Prescription, a statute of limitations applies to all civil lawsuits. With few exceptions, the prescriptive period for filing a damages lawsuit in Israel is seven years since the events in question. If the victim was a minor, they are permitted to file the suit any time before they turn 25, regardless of when the tort occurred. Read more in this article by an Israeli negligence lawyer

What are some defense strategies which the accused party can use?

A defense attorney can attempt to have the case against their clients dismissed by convincing the court that their behavior was reasonable under the circumstances. Additionally, they might argue that their actions caused no harm to the claimant. Moreover, a common strategy to minimize the damages awarded is arguing that the claimant has been careless and that they bear at least partial responsibility for the harm suffered. Learn more about this topic from a damages attorney in Israel.

How is the size of damages decided in a financial compensation lawsuit?

During an Israeli financial compensation lawsuit, the court may appoint an expert to evaluate the sum of losses that the claimant suffered due to the tort. This evaluation will inform the court’s decision regarding compensatory damages. Occasionally, the court will award additional aggravated damages for pain and suffering. Learn more about suing in Israel by reading this article by a civil attorney in Israel.  

How much do lawsuits cost in Israel?

In Israeli civil lawsuits, the attorney fees are usually a percentage of the damages awarded. Therefore, civil lawyers in Israel are very motivated to argue their clients’ cases. Generally, if the court does not order compensation to the claimant, they will not owe anything to their attorney. Often the most expensive part of filing a damages lawsuit in Israel is the fees paid to professionals for their expert opinion on the case. I have written more on this topic when discussing medical malpractice lawsuits.

How can I contact a damages lawyer in Israel?

Before filing a lawsuit in Israel, you should seek legal advice from an experienced and qualified damages lawyer in Israel. Our law firm has vast experience with this type of civil claim. Call 03-3724722 or email us at [email protected]. My colleagues and I at the Decker, Pex, Levi & Co. law firm are always available to answer your questions and represent your case. We invite you to meet us at our offices in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. 

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