Expert liability

Caution

In general, these rules also apply to EU Citizens in Austria.

‘Expert liability’ under the ABGB (Austrian General Civil Code) is in no way limited to persons entered in the list of experts for the purpose of providing expert opinions in legal proceedings by order of the court. It applies to all professions that require particular expertise, regardless of whether they are practised on a self-employed or employed basis. This includes, in particular, professions such as:

Doctors, lawyers, notaries, tax consultants, architects, civil engineers, management consultants, etc., but also investment advisers or brokers.

Liability is greater for experts, as they must vouch for the typical capabilities of their profession. Their conduct must therefore be subject to an objective scale of due diligence, which is based on the customary level of diligence shown by all persons who practice a specific expert activity.

Experts are liable, inter alia, if:

  • they provide harmful advice or adverse information:
  • inadvertently;
  • or in return for a reward (understood to be a selfish activity).

They are also liable for all other culpable misconduct within the scope of activities that require their specialist expertise, such as, for example, a doctor who commits malpractice. Even minor negligence is sufficient.

Further information on professional liability insurance can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Legal basis

Sections 1295 et seq., 1299 and 1300 ABGB

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice