Why is claiming personal injury in the Netherlands so lucrative?

You hope you never need one, a personal injury lawyer. But unfortunately, the chance of a collision, an accident at work or a dog bite is not zero. In fact, every year hundreds of thousands of people become victims of a damage event that causes injury.

If you hire a personal injury lawyer, you will notice that it is not cheap. In most countries you pay for a personal injury lawyer yourself. In a number of European countries you can receive government compensation if you hire a personal injury lawyer. But you almost always incur costs, unless you live in the Netherlands.

Free help from a personal injury lawyer in the Netherlands, how is that possible?

If you have ever had to hire a lawyer, for example as a result of an employment dispute, you know how expensive this can be. This is also the case in the Netherlands. There is only one exception: if you need a personal injury lawyer in Utrecht (Dutch: letselschade advocaat Utrecht) in the Netherlands, you will pay this lawyer nothing at all. But how is this possible, free legal help from a personal injury lawyer in the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, a special legal provision applies which reads as follows: “The following are also eligible for compensation as financial loss:

• reasonable costs to prevent or limit damage that could be expected as a result of the event on which the liability is based;

• reasonable costs to determine damage and liability;

• reasonable costs to obtain satisfaction out of court.

In other words, the costs that a personal injury lawyer in The Hague (Dutch: letselschade advocaat Den Haag) incurs for recovering personal injury are included in the compensation to which the personal injury victim is entitled. The costs incurred by the personal injury lawyer are therefore indirectly reimbursed by the liable party. Because all motor vehicles in the Netherlands are compulsorily insured and most companies are insured against liability, the costs of a personal injury lawyer in the Netherlands are ultimately paid by the damage insurance of the person held liable. So you can hire a personal injury lawyer in the Netherlands for free.

Is the system in the Netherlands really that good?

A great and victim-friendly system you would say at first glance. But there is also a major disadvantage or even danger to the system in the Netherlands, where you are entitled to free help from a personal injury specialist.

Article 96 of the Dutch Civil Code states that you are entitled to free legal assistance, but not that this must be a personal injury lawyer. Many smarter entrepreneurs saw this as an opportunity and started a personal injury agency. No personal injury lawyers work here and often not even personal injury lawyers. The name personal injury specialist is not a protected name. The result is that unqualified people call themselves personal injury specialists and help people recover personal injury claims.

Unfortunately, recovering personal injury claims by unqualified people often goes wrong, with damaging consequences for personal injury victims. The Dutch system is therefore not only positive and it is the task of the government and interest groups to do something about this. Unfortunately, now, too little is being done about this, with all the consequences that this entails.

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