Accident with monster truck in Haaksbergen
On the afternoon of Sunday, 28 September 2014 the annual motor event ‘Auto en Motor Sportief’ turned into a tragedy when a so-called monster truck crashed into the public. The public didn’t stand a chance against this giant vehicle with its 1.500 PK engine. What should have been a beautiful afternoon ended on a tragic note. 28 people were injured and 3 people, 2 adults and a child, were killed.
Meanwhile several inquiries have been launched to answer the many questions that have arisen. For instance, how could this accident happen, and who is responsible? How could the local authority have granted a permit without taking the necessary precautions? And: how could the public be so close to the show, protected just by crash barriers?
Legally, there are several parties that could be held liable for the accident. However, as the monster truck proved uninsured, the Dutch Motor Traffic Guarantee Fund will be required by law to pay the damage. The Fund has already indicated its willingness to pay the victims’ loss and damage. Both personal injury and damages resulting from the death of the three victims should be paid.
On 28 October 2015 the Court of Overijssel (District of Almelo) ruled in administrative law proceedings that the Municipality of Haaksbergen was wrong to issue a licence for the event featuring the monster truck. The Court held that the assessment of the risks before the event had been inadequate, and the municipality had been negligent in its appraisal. Click here to read the decision of the Court. Haaksbergen local authority did not file appeal from this decision.
On 15 April 2016, the Court of Overijssel (district Almelo) convicted both the driver of the monster truck and the organiser of the event. In the appeal proceedings the Court of Appeal of Arnhem-Leeuwarden upheld this judgment on 23 May 2018. The driver was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. Moreover, he may not work as a stuntman for five years. The organiser of the event must pay a penalty of EUR 25,000 if they commit another criminal offence within the next two years. Click here and here (in Dutch) to read the two decisions and explanatory notes.
The municipality of Haaksbergen will not be prosecuted as, being a public authority, it has immunity. This immunity from prosecution is currently the subject of political and legal debate.
Beer advocaten represents several of the victims seeking recovery from the Dutch Motor Traffic Guarantee Fund. Beer advocaten can also advise victims on the different types of proceedings referred to above.
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