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Traffic accidents

A (serious) accident in traffic is easily done. In the Netherlands, many traffic accidents occur every day. In 2018, there were even 678 fatal accidents. The number of serious road casualties per year is estimated at 21,000. [1] This means 58 serious casualties a day.
First of all, it is important to qualify the various parties involved in the traffic accident. This can be, for example, as a car, motorcycle, pedestrian, cyclist, tram, metro, tractor, etc. This qualification is extremely important for the legal framework that applies to your case. It may seem easy, but it is not always. What about, for example, trams, metros, racing cyclists, recumbent cyclists, e-bikes, Speedbikes, Biro´s, hooverboards, bicycles with pedal assistance and / or electric scooters? What is a motor vehicle? Only owners of motor vehicles are obliged under Dutch law to cover civil liability (article. 6: 162 BW and 185 WVW) (WAM insurance).

Motorized versus motorized

For accidents involving only motor vehicles, article 6:162 BW applies. This means that we “just” have look what exactly happened and which party caused the accident: there must be a (traffic) error of the other, which can be attributed to the other to held that other succesfully liable. It is up to us together with you to prove that a traffic error has been made by the other person. 

Motorized versus non-motorized

However, for accidents between a motor vehicle and a non-motorized road user, article 185 WVW applies. This article contains extensive liability to protect the more vulnerable non-motorized road user, such as pedestrians or cyclists. The idea behind is that the unprotected human body always will lose out the heavier mass and greater speed of the motor vehicle. On our Dutch website, you can find more information about article 185 WVW.

However, this article does not apply in case of force majeure. Although liability in traffic law is a very casuistic matter, here are some examples of a (un)successful appeal to force majeure may be involved.

Force majeure does not apply to:

  • defects in a vehicle;
  • a fault of the non-motorized vehicle (suddenly crossing)
  • driving the non-motorized vehicle without light;
  • a combination of the above;
  • the presence of traffic facilities (bus stop), despite the fact that the victim was barely visible and walked on the road outside built-up areas;
  • the situation where a pedestrian must have been clearly visible, despite sudden crossing, standing still and falling forward in the middle of the road;
  • an uncertain situation.

There are not much examples where force majeure does apply, because a successful appeal to this is exceptional. There now seems to be a tendency for ‘other’ than normal cyclists (ie racing cyclists, recumbent cyclists and e-bikes) to be more likely to use force majeure.
Our lawyer of AVB Law are fully aware of all the latest developments in the field of force majeure. This knowledge is extremely necessary to be able to handle your case properly.

AVB-LAW is your traffic specialist

Have you had an accident where you were involved as a non-motorized road user, namely a pedestrian or cyclist? Then there is a good chance that your damage must be reimbursed for 50% at least, except for force majeure. In case you are younger than 14 years, the entire damage must be compensated.

Have you had an accident where you are involved as a driver with a motor vehicle? Article 6:162 BW offers plenty of options and at AVB Law we know perfectly our way in the WVW, Rvv and WVR (applying laws). In addition, we are specialized in general liability law (WAM insurance), but also in various first party insurance for road users, such as accident insurance, passenger accident insurance (OVI), occupant damage insurance (SVI) and damage insurance employees. Did you know, for example, that the SVI insurance can offer a solution in the event of a unilateral accident or an accident caused by an own fault and that the attorney’s costs must be reimbursed as extrajudicial costs?

Were you involved in a traffic accident?

and did you suffer injuries?


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