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Stichting Maatzorg de Werven v. Anonymous

2009 April 21
by Babise de Laive

Court: Netherlands Supreme Court

Date: December 12th, 2008

LJN number: BD3129

Case: Stichting Maatzorg is a care agency providing professional domiciliary care and the original claimant is a nurse employed by it. On her way from one client to the other the nurse fell off her bike at a slippery road. The nurse who was badly wounded claimed damages from her employer, alleging that the employer had failed to provide a safe workplace (Article 7:658 Dutch Civil Code), alternatively that the employer had breached its obligations as a good employer (Article 7:611 Dutch Civil Code), alternatively that the employer was under a duty to hold her harmless under the principles of reasonabiliy and equity (Article 6:248 Dutch Civil Code).

Held: In earlier cases the Supreme Court had already ruled that employers are under an obligation to insure employees that are required to drive motor vehicles during labour time. Persons on bikes and pedestrians are even more vulnarable traffic participants than motorists. If cover can be taken, against a reasonable premium, the employer’s duty of care includes the duty to take suitable insurance, at its own expense, for the benefit of its employees. The insurance should cover all reasonably coverable risks that arise when an employee is travelling in the course of performing his duties, except intent or wilfull misconduct of the employee. The Netherlands Supreme Court presumed that such insurance would have been available at the time of the incident, hence the employer was held liable under Article 7:611 of the Dutch Civil Code.

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