Code of conduct for handling personal injury claims

Code of conduct for handling personal injury claims

Twenty principles, hundreds of good practices and things to avoid; resulting in a victim-friendly process for handling personal injury claims

The challenge

We assisted the stakeholders in the Dutch personal injury field. Their challenge was to make the handling of personal injury claims less burdensome for victims. Insurance companies wanted a cost-efficient and cooperative treatment as well. 

Our approach

In 13 meetings and many personal interactions, over 100 stakeholders together developed a Code of Conduct for Handling Personal Injury Claims. We facilitated the process, and collected solutions and good practices from other countries to serve as a benchmark. The stakeholders (and we as their facilitators) learned how difficult it is to ensure compliance and to organize effective ADR procedures. The project was funded by NGO's and also obtained a subsidy from the Dutch Ministry of Justice. 


The interactive process and the code have reportedly changed the culture of settling claims. Many innovative work methods and new businesses have been based on this process. One of the spin-offs has been a new fast track court procedure, where judges can give interim decisions on specific points if settlement negotiations get stuck. The process paved the way for follow-up initiatives in the personal injury sector. Better methods for expert evidence, standardization of lawyer fees and guidelines for damages awards are now developing. It is not clear whether the satisfaction of victims with the process has been improved and whether the number and duration of conflicts has reduced. Monitoring the compliance and the quality of the process has been one of the recommendations, but it has proven to be hard to organize this.   

Project details

Project leader: Prof. Maurits Barendrecht 
Contact: Corry van Zeeland 

More information

Code of Conduct in English and a Research paper about the project

List of innovations building on the code process. The Letselschaderaad is the organisation safeguarding the code of conduct as a tool to improve the personal injury handling process. It works on behalf of victims, insurers and providers of legal aid in the field of personal injury. See there for infomation on the present status.