Lawyer signing document

Compensation of immaterial damage: what is it and when are you entitled to compensation? 

Article 6:95 of the Dutch Civil Law stipulates that the damage that must be compensated on the basis of a legal obligation to pay compensation consists of financial loss and other disadvantage. But what is meant by ‘other disadvantage and when are you entitled to it?

Immaterial damage

Other disadvantage within the meaning of Article 6:95 of the Dutch Civil Code refers to immaterial damage. This refers to damage caused by grief, mental suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. Unlike material damages, immaterial damages cannot be directly expressed in money. The amount of compensation for pain and suffering varies from case to case. It depends on many factors including:

  • What is the nature and severity of the injury?
  • How many medical treatments did you have to undergo and how severe were they? (such as number of days in hospital, number of surgeries, rehabilitation period);
  • Was recovery painful?
  • How long and to what extent you are (have been) disabled?
  • To what extent are there permanent symptoms; Will you always be in pain because of the injury?
  • Have the complaints caused a loss of enjoyment of life? (For example, can you still do your hobbies or profession?). 

When to claim immaterial damage?

An important condition for claiming immaterial damages is that there must be a counterparty who acknowledges liability. After all, the liable party, or the insurer of the liable party, is the one who must compensate the damages. In addition, it is important that the medical process has ended. 

Unfortunately for the Dutch, the amounts compensated for immaterial damages are way lower than in America.