Senate assents to compensation for emotional loss

Today, the Senate accepted a legislative proposal from Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker that will regulate compensation for emotional loss. This compensation is a form of non-economic damages for relatives of victims who have died or have suffered serious or permanent injury as a result of another person's mistakes. Such compensation is awarded to grieving loved ones whose lives were intertwined with that of the victim.

For example, a child might be hit by a car and be severely handicapped for life, or a partner might pass away due to a medical error. A violent crime might also give rise to compensation for emotional loss; for instance, when a father is mugged and shot, leaving his wife and children bereaved. 'Although compensation for emotional loss cannot undo the suffering of the victim's relatives, it is a form of recognition and redress that may help them to move on,' explains Minister Dekker. 'The important thing is that we acknowledge the grief of those people whose life has been turned upside down because of a mistake made by someone else.'

Only the victim's partner, children and parents are eligible to receive compensation for emotional loss. The regulation stipulates fixed amounts between 12,500 and 20,000 euros, payable by the party responsible for the accident. This way, procedures to establish the exact amount of the compensation or lengthy and painful discussions about the suffering can be avoided. The personal circumstances of the relatives are taken into account by means of various categories and amounts of compensation.

Research has shown that paying attention to the emotional consequences of an accident has a positive effect on the next of kin. A plea for an emotional loss regulation had also been made by the field of personal injury practice. According to Minister Dekker, 'That is the reason why this law is so important. It improves the position of victims' relatives. It's a good thing that such a regulation is now going to be implemented, since many other European countries already have one.'

The law will come into effect on 1 January 2019.

Ministry responsible