Guilty passenger

27 February 2019
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Arslan Advocaten

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Guilty passenger

The innocent passenger or passenger of a motor vehicle that has been involved in a traffic accident always receives compensation for his damage. After all, he is not at fault for the accident. The innocent passenger is entitled to compensation in both a single-vehicle accident and an accident involving several parties.

The Guiltless Passengers or Passengers and Guiltless Third Parties Regulation contains rules that determine which insurer must handle the (injury) damage if several insurers are involved. The insurer held liable is obliged to settle the damage of the innocent passenger. This insurer can recover the damage behind the scenes from the actually liable party, but the victim does not have to wait for this further settlement and will receive his compensation immediately.

To whom does the scheme apply?

The scheme only applies to (i) guiltless third parties and (ii) guiltless occupants or passengers. An innocent third party is a natural person who has suffered (or is still suffering) damage as a result of an accident involving two or more parties other than himself. It must be plausible that the innocent third party is not at fault for the occurrence of the accident and that the accident cannot be attributed to him. If an innocent third party dies as a result of the accident, his surviving relatives are regarded as innocent third parties.

An innocent occupant or occupant is never the driver of the vehicle. It only concerns co-occupants or occupants of a vehicle of a WAM insurer affiliated with the Dutch Association of Insurers. In short, this concerns all passengers in or on a vehicle who are not at fault for the occurrence of an accident, but who do suffer or have suffered damage as a result of the accident.

If there is any uncertainty as to who caused the accident, this passenger can simply claim the insurer of the vehicle he was in or on. He is obliged to deal with the passenger’s damage. After all, it is certain that he cannot be blamed. The passenger therefore has nothing to do with the discussion about who the liable party is. Even if the driver who caused the accident is the husband or wife of the occupant or passenger, the passenger who has suffered damage will simply receive compensation for his damage.

Own fault

Certain circumstances may result in the passenger not being reimbursed for all damages. This could include, for example, a passenger who does not wear a seat belt or who rides with a driver who is driving under the influence. There are various factors that can be important for the amount of compensation.

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