Free lawyer in the Netherlands, how is that possible?
You may have needed a lawyer. For example, for an employment dispute or personal injury case. You probably know that hiring a lawyer is expensive. The hourly rates can go up to well over € 200.00 per hour.
It is actually too crazy for words, you are hit by someone and then you also have to incur costs for a personal injury lawyer. If you then pay a high hourly rate, the damage will not be paid in full. After all, a part then goes to the personal injury lawyer (Dutch: letselschade advocaat).
Claiming the Dutch system for personal injury claims
In the Netherlands, a unique system applies when it comes to the costs of personal injury. You can then call in a personal injury lawyer in Amsterdam for free after an accident. This regulation has been included in the Dutch Civil Code in Article 6:96 paragraph 1. This paragraph reads:
“Eligible for compensation are also the reasonable costs to prevent or limit damage that could be expected as a result of the event on which the liability is based, reasonable costs to determine damage and liability, reasonable costs to obtain payment out of court .”
This means that if someone else is liable for the injury suffered by you, in addition to the compensation, the costs of legal assistance will also be borne by the other party. In most cases, however, the personal injury is paid by the insurer. So if someone is hit by a car in Amsterdam, the liability insurer pays the costs of the personal injury lawyer in Amsterdam (Dutch: letselschade advocaat Amsterdam).
Disadvantage of the system in the Netherlands
Of course, it sounds great, free help from a personal injury lawyer if you are injured as a result of an accident. But there is also a disadvantage. The legislator in the Netherlands has never thought of this. That is not surprising, but the disadvantage is obvious. What is going on?
Because the help of a personal injury lawyer in Amsterdam is free, all kinds of entrepreneurs have also entered the market of advocacy for personal injury. The law does not explicitly state that it must be a personal injury lawyer, but that the costs of legal assistance will be reimbursed. This means that anyone may call themselves a personal injury specialist and may act in that capacity as an advocate in personal injury cases.
The result is that all kinds of shadowy personal injury agencies are growing like mushrooms in the Netherlands. They all offer free legal assistance for personal injury claims. However, without having the necessary knowledge. As a result, personal injury victims often do not receive the legal assistance they do need. As a result, the full injury damage is not compensated, or future damage is not taken into account.
How can the foregoing be resolved?
The gap in the law is that anyone can call themselves a personal injury specialist. It is not a protected title and so anyone can engage in providing assistance with personal injury claims. But how can this be solved now?
Several reliable personal injury agencies and personal injury lawyers have created quality marks. If you meet certain requirements as a personal injury lawyer or personal injury lawyer, you can carry this quality mark. In addition, insurers have now decided that they pay lower hourly rates to personal injury handlers without training or a quality mark. The best solution, however, would be an amendment to the law stipulating that only personal injury lawyers or other personal injury specialists with certain quality marks may still assist personal injury victims.