Minister Dekker: It will soon be easier to claim compensation for large-scale damage or loss
Citizens and business owners who suffer large-scale damage or loss will soon find it easier to claim compensation. Currently, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to make this kind of claim. A legislative proposal by Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker, which today was passed unanimously in the Lower House of Parliament, means that from now on, victims can submit claims collectively.
Extortionate insurance policies or cars with hidden defects can cause a great deal of misery for many people. In addition, fake or defective medicines can have extremely serious consequences for the patients who fall victim to them, such as the DES daughters: women who developed medical difficulties because their mothers had taken defective medicine during pregnancy. It is clear that the person responsible for the damage must pay for it, although in practice, this is easier said than done. Sometimes the procedure is so expensive that it's cheaper for the victims to pay for the damage themselves, and in others, they simply don't have the time or energy to go through such long court cases.
In such cases, it helps to be part of a collective. At the moment, an interest group or other such party can help arrange a settlement to reimburse groups of victims, although success is certainly not guaranteed. If the party responsible for the damage doesn't cooperate, the victims can still end up empty-handed.
This legislative proposal will change all that. Citizens and business owners will no longer have to go it alone in their bid to gain the compensation they deserve. Soon, it will be possible to settle the entire case via a single class-action lawsuit, which is much simpler and saves time and money. The judge will determine a single amount of compensation for all victims, allowing cases to be settled much more effectively and saving a huge amount of misery for a lot of people. ‘This is a good example of a legal procedure that is effective and serves the interests of consumers, business owners and judges,’ said Minister Dekker. ‘Class-action lawsuits affect lots of people and often involve huge sums of money, so it is vital they don't result in an endless legal labyrinth. This way, everything can be done all at once, giving quick closure to all parties involved.’
The legislative proposal also ensures the victims receive sufficient legal protection. Not all interest groups are equally capable when it comes to claiming compensation: their organisation and finances have to be properly in order. This proposal will mean the victims know exactly who they are placing their trust in. The legislative proposal has now been passed on to the Upper House of Parliament and it is expected to come into force before the year is out.