Researchers Prof. Siewert Lindenbergh (project leader), Dr Marnix Hebly (project secretary) and Melissa de Groot LLM (project researcher), of the Civil Law department of Erasmus School of Law, were commissioned by the Personal Injury Council. They have worked for the past three years on the book "Guideline for Settlement of Work-Related Disease Cases" (Leidraad Afhandeling Beroepsziektezaken), which offers practical tools to resolve occupational disease cases more confidently and in a more expeditious manner. On Thursday 26 November, the Personal Injury Council presented the document during a webinar. A few days earlier, the Leidraad was presented to the State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment Bas van 't Wout.
Occupational illness cases are notoriously tricky, mainly because the connection between work and illness is often difficult to establish. The guideline aims to improve the practice of claims handling by stimulating and streamlining cooperation between parties that are professionally involved in work-related disease cases. The common thread in the guideline is that the handling of occupational disease claims can be substantially improved if the parties involved in the claim handling process cooperate as much as possible on this matter. This cooperation assumes an attitude of openness and trust and serves the shared interest in clarity, drive and solution-orientations. The step-by-step plan laid down in the guideline offers tools for shaping this collaboration pragmatically and efficiently.
The first phase (2018) of the project consisted of an exploratory study of bottlenecks in practice, as well as an exploration of opportunities for a code of conduct as a solution. This research was carried out by Melissa de Groot, PhD researcher at Erasmus School of Law, and Prof. Siewert Lindenbergh, professor of private law at Erasmus School of Law. The second phase (2019) consisted of drafting the text of the document by a broadly composed working group (lawyers, damage experts, medical advisors, mediators, etc.), chaired by Prof. Lindenbergh and supervised by Dr Hebly. This group was monitored by a steering group in which various stakeholders were also represented. In the autumn, the definitive text was finalized, after submission of a draft to the industry for consultation.