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Personal injury in the Netherlands, a lucrative business

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It happens every day, an accident. For example, a car accident because someone hits you from behind. Or a bicycle accident in which you were hit by a car. But accidents do not only happen in traffic, such as an industrial accident in which someone falls from a ladder or a dog bite resulting in injury.

If you are injured, you can file a personal injury claim with the liable party. However, you can also claim the help of a personal injury lawyer, such as a personal injury lawyer in Rotterdam (Dutch: letselschade advocaat Rotterdam) if you have been hit by a car there.


The cost of a personal injury lawyer

Under the law, the costs of a personal injury lawyer are in principle borne by the personal injury victim himself. In a number of countries there are rules that make part of the costs eligible for reimbursement by the government or an insurer. This usually involves small fees. In addition, the system of no cure no pay is sometimes used, part of the compensation is then paid as a fee to the personal injury lawyer, for example a personal injury lawyer in Amsterdam (Dutch: letselschade advocaat Amsterdam) if you work in the Dutch capital at hit the bicycle.

Free legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there is an exception to the main rule that everyone pays his or her own lawyer’s fees. In the Netherlands, the right to free legal assistance in personal injury cases is enshrined in law. Dutch law states that the costs of determining liability and calculating the amount of the damage are eligible for compensation by the other party. In other words, if you suffer damage due to the fault of someone else, this liable party must also pay the costs of the personal injury lawyer in addition to the personal injury itself.

Danger of free legal assistance in case of personal injury

The Dutch system in which the counterparty has to pay the costs is of course a nice system. More so now that most people in the Netherlands are insured against damage as a result of an accident. It is therefore often the insurer of the liable party who pays for the personal injury. For example, all motor vehicles in the Netherlands are compulsorily insured against liability. But there is also a major drawback to the Dutch system whereby the costs of legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer are reimbursed by the (insurer of) the liable party.


Proliferation of personal injury agencies

The law does not state that the costs of a personal injury lawyer are reimbursed, but only that the costs of legal assistance are part of the damage. This means that not only a personal injury lawyer can work free of charge, but also other providers. The result is that a proliferation of all kinds of personal injury agencies have arisen in the Netherlands.

While personal injury lawyers have a great deal of knowledge of personal injury law, many personal injury agencies lack the expertise to help a victim of a collision, dog bite or industrial accident recover personal injury claims. As a result, people do not receive the personal injury compensation they are entitled to under the law. Future damage is also often not considered.

The Dutch system of free legal assistance for personal injury claims therefore seems very nice, but in practice it does cause the necessary problems. The industry is trying to overcome these problems with quality labels and associations that you can only join under certain circumstances. However, this does not alter the fact that the number of personal injury bureaus is still growing rapidly.