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Personal injury, what exactly is it?

by Sam Wakoba
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We’ve all heard of personal injury claims. But if you ask someone what personal injury damage actually is and what is covered by personal injury compensation, many people are unable to tell. In this article you can read what personal injury actually is and which damage items fall under personal injury.

What is personal injury?

Suppose you drive to work or to the stadium to watch a football match. A pedestrian wants to cross at a zebra crossing and you brake to let the pedestrian cross. At that moment someone is driving behind you who does not see in time that you are standing still for the zebra crossing. The car approaching behind you will drive you from behind. There is then talk of a rear-end collision (Dutch: kop-staart botsing).

You will be injured as a result of the rear-end collision. You are left with neck complaints from the rear-end collision, along with back complaints and headaches. For these complaints, you go to the general practitioner who will then send you to the hospital for a photo. You incur costs for this.

In addition to the medical costs, you are also unable to work due to the injury. You are incapacitated for work and you suffer loss of income as a result. You will not be paid your full wages. And as a self-employed person you no longer have any income at all.

We refer to the costs that you incur as a result of the rear-end collision and the loss of income you suffer as a result of this.

What falls under personal injury?

Now that we know what personal injury is, we need to think about what falls under personal injury. Personal injury consists on the one hand of material damage items. In addition, personal injury also includes compensation for damages.

With material damage you can think of all the costs that you incur as a result of the collision or the industrial accident (Dutch: bedrijfsongeval). Costs in the event of injury include medical costs such as the deductible, travel costs and costs for help with the household and maintenance of the home and garden.

In addition to costs, loss of income is also part of the material damage items. Income loss is referred to if you were injured as a result of the industrial accident or collision.

What is compensation?

In addition to material damage items, non-material damage is also part of a personal injury compensation. Non-material damage is compensation for all damage that cannot be valued in money. Non-material damage consists of compensation for:
– Pain from the accident
– Anxiety complaints such as traffic anxiety after a collision
– Anger, frustration and sadness
– Disfiguring scars.

It is therefore not possible to calculate non-material damage. But how do you determine the amount of compensation for a victim of an industrial accident, collision or dog bite? This differs per country.

In the Netherlands, a compensation for non-material damage is determined on the basis of the Smartengeldgids. The Guide contains hundreds, if not thousands, of court decisions from the Dutch court in which compensation has been determined. On the basis of this, the compensation is determined in a concrete personal injury case.

In addition to material damage and compensation for non-material damages, legal aid costs also fall under the personal injury compensation in some countries. This is the case in the Netherlands, among others. In the Netherlands, the law states that victims of personal injury are entitled to free legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer or personal injury specialist. In other countries, the legal aid costs are borne by the victim himself.

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