10 June 2021
“I did not give way and my car was hit by a truck. It was my fault, but my co-passenger and I suffered serious injuries. Is it still possible to receive compensation for the personal injury resulting from this accident?” In this blog, I answer this question.
Normally, the injury must be compensated by the person who caused the accident. What is sometimes overlooked when taking out insurance is the fact that it is possible to take out Passenger Damage Insurance (SVI) in addition to the WAM (Motor Vehicle Liability Act) insurance. The degree of culpability and the violation of traffic and safety standards does not matter to the SVI provided, of course, that the damage was not caused intentionally.
The insurance company has a payment obligation based on the contents of the insurance policy. Please note: not all insurance companies have the same policy conditions. It is therefore important to read the policy conditions carefully. The circle of beneficiaries of benefits can sometimes differ. Sometimes not all passengers are insured. For example, what if there are five occupants and there are seat belts for four people? A tour of the various insurance policies showed that there is no single policy that covers the same risk. For example, benefits under the Affectionate Damages Act (Dutch “Wet affectieschade”) that came into effect on 1 January 2019 can be excluded in the policy conditions. A maximum insured sum is also often included in the policies, which may differ per policy. So always pay close attention to the policy conditions.
Under insurance law, the insured is obliged, within reasonable limits, to take all measures that may lead to the prevention or reduction of damage. This is called the so-called damage limitation obligation. You must, for example, cooperate with necessary medical treatments in the context of rehabilitation. Violation of the damage limitation obligation constitutes own fault. Reporting damage too late can also lead to the rejection of a payment, as the SVI insurer is often no longer able to conduct a proper investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
As an insured party, it is important for you to know that, pursuant to Article 7:959, paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code, the reasonable costs of determining the damage will be borne by the SVI insurer, even if this, together with the compensation for the damage, would result in the insured sum being exceeded. The costs of determining the damage include the fee of your lawyer and any medical advisers you have engaged.
We would be pleased to help. For good and sound advice in the sometimes confusing forest of policy conditions, you can call on the liability team at GMW lawyers. We can help you make an inventory of your damage, so you can focus on your recovery.
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