Personal injury victims not only sustain material damage like loss of earnings and medical expenses, but non-material damage as well. This is also called ‘non-economic damages’. This type of compensation is intended to reimburse victims for the physical and psychological pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life due to, for instance, a road accident, a medical error or an occupational disease.
The size of these non-economic damages is decided by different elements including the type of liability, the nature and gravity of the injuries, the current and future symptoms and limitations and the medical procedures. The individual circumstances of a case are decisive.
In addition to non-economic damages other people than the victim may be entitled to damages for nervous shock. Damages for nervous shock may be paid in case of severe psychological damage due to traumatic incidents involving loved ones. Claimants must have been confronted with such incident or its direct effects.
‘Emotional loss’, i.e. the loss sustained by someone due to the death or severe injuries of family members, is not yet eligible for compensation in the Netherlands.