Compensation for personal injury after an accident at work

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Your employee suffers an accident at work and is seriously injured or dies. If it turns out that your business is liable for this, you must pay compensation to your employee or the family. Find out what types of compensation there are.

What is personal injury?

An accident at work can harm your employee. The physical and/or psychological injury caused by the accident is called personal injury. Personal injury that can be measured directly in expenses or losses is called material damage. Damage that cannot be measured in expenses or losses is called immaterial damage.

If you are liable for the accident at work, you must pay compensation for both material and immaterial damages. You are liable, for example, if your employee was injured because equipment was not properly maintained. Or because your employee performed tasks without proper training or supervision.

Compensation for material damages

Your employee may suffer financial losses or additional costs after an accident at work. For example, for treatment their health insurer does not pay for. Or your employee may have to hire household help. Does your employee have to work fewer hours after the accident due to injury? That is also material damage. If you are liable, you must pay compensation for these costs or losses.

What is compensation for pain and suffering?

Compensation for pain and suffering can be awarded for the immaterial damage your employee suffers due to the accident at work. For example, your employee suffers from a lot of pain after the accident. Or their quality of life is reduced. If you are liable for the accident, your employee can claim damages.

Examples of compensation for pain and suffering

Your employee may claim compensation for pain and suffering if they can no longer walk properly because of the accident. Or if they have noticeable facial scars after the accident.

What is emotional damage?

If your employee is seriously and permanently injured, or dies, it also affects your employee's immediate family and close friends. They may suffer emotional distress as a result. In legal terms, this is called emotional damage.

Compensation for emotional damage

Compensation for emotional damage is also a type of compensation for pain and suffering. Not for the person involved in the accident, but for their immediate family. Such as their children, parents, or (registered) partner.

How much compensation is due after an accident at work?

The amount of compensation awarded after an accident at work depends on the type and seriousness of your employee's personal injury, among other things.

With material damages, it is usually clear what additional costs or financial losses your employee has due to the accident. If your employee holds you liable, they may demand that you pay all costs and cover all losses. Then a judge will determine the amount you have to pay, either by granting or rejecting your employee's claim.

The amount of compensation for pain and suffering that you must pay depends on the situation. There are no fixed amounts. For example, if your employee is permanently disabled because of the accident, they will claim more than for a broken arm. To calculate damages, lawyers and personal injury experts look at, among other things, the compensation other victims have received in similar types of situations. The judge then determines if the amount claimed by the victim is appropriate.

Compensation for emotional damage is a fixed amount between €12,500 and €20,000. These amounts are set out in the Emotional Damage (Compensation Claims) Decree (in Dutch). The amount depends on various factors, such as whether the person is injured or deceased. And, for example, whether their children still live at home.

Who pays compensation after a personal injury?

Do you have business liability insurance? If so, the insurer will usually pay the compensation after an accident at work. This applies to compensation for financial loss, compensation for pain and suffering, and emotional damage. If your business is not insured, it will be liable to pay any compensation that is due.