The amount of damages

Compensation is paid out as a form of compensation for the non-material damage that someone has suffered. Compensation is intended to provide some compensation for the suffering of a victim. The amount of compensation is determined on the basis of a number of guidelines.

What is compensation for damages?

Compensation for damages refers to compensation for the damage someone has suffered. This concerns immaterial damage , or damage that does not affect someone’s assets. Examples of such situations include pain, damage to the person (for example invasion of privacy) and reduced enjoyment of life. Although the judge may in principle freely value relevant damage items, there are some guidelines regarding what the judge should value. The Supreme Court places the extent of the disadvantage (meaning the nature and severity of the injury) as a central criterion for the extent of compensation . This also takes into account that the amount must be such that the victim can actually do something with it.

Factors that the judge must take into account when determining the amount of damages

  • The nature of the injury
  • The duration and intensity of the grief
  • The seriousness of the violation of the victim’s sense of justice
  • The lack of joy in life
  • The nature of the liability of the ‘perpetrator’

The above factors must be measured as objectively as possible. In practice, this generally means that one looks primarily at the nature and severity of the injury. After all, the actual mental damage suffered is not measurable. The actual suffering must therefore be derived from other determinable factors. It is also common for the judge to compare the case with previous, comparable cases in which damages have been paid. This is called case comparison.

Useful for damages

Compensation is primarily intended to compensate the victim for suffering that cannot otherwise be repaired. Compensation is generally used to make life more pleasant and therefore the compensation must in any case be large enough that one can actually do something with it. Compensation for damages is not intended to cover certain damage items, but rather to provide compensation for that which cannot be repaired. In the Netherlands, compensation for damages is rarely paid out in amounts higher than 10,000 to 15,000. However, there are also cases in which 30,000 or even 50,000 in damages have been paid out.