Mistakes in a Dutch expert report

Mistakes may occur in an expert report (‘deskundigenrapport’). Incorrect advice or other errors may lead to the expert being liable under Dutch law for the damages suffered by the client as a result of the report.

A Dutch lawyer is able to provide an analysis, offer advice and handle the claim for damages as a result of the incorrect export report.

Liability of expert reports under Dutch law

An expert is liable when his report contains incorrect advice, is missing an important element or defect or falls short otherwise. In the Netherlands, export reports are drawn up for a number of different procedures, including; legal procedures, building inspections and during purchase inspections. The court can also appoint an expert at the request of an interested party. The advantage of a court appointed expert is that their independence and impartiality are guaranteed. . A lawyer can request the court to appoint an expert.

Reporting an error in an expert’s report

The moment it is discovered, a mistake should be reported to the expert who compiled the report.

The client has a  duty to report any mistakes in the expert report (‘klachtplicht’). This should preferably be done in writing. . The expert can be held in default or be held liable. Often the error leads to irreparable damage, meaning that no notice needs to be sent, however, we advise reporting the mistake regardless.

Damage from faulty expert report

It may still be possible to limit the damage done if the expert notices an error or defect at an early stage of proceedings. Usually an expert is insured and the liability statement must be reported to the insurer. A lawyer who holds an expert liable will ensure  that the  expert’s insurance company is informed of the error in the report.

Proof of damage suffered from an expert report

The damage suffered as a result of a faulty expert report must be determined accurately .The burden to prove the extent of the damage is on the claimant. . The damage can be recorded by an expert, a structural engineer or a bailiff in an official report of observation. It is advisable to have the damage  accurately determined by an independent expert. An estimation can also be made for possible future damage as a result of the defective expert report.

Claim settlement after expert report

If a claim settlement with the expert or his insurer is not possible, the expert can be summoned and damages can be claimed by starting  legal proceedings in a  Dutch court. The Court can determine expert liability and provide a measure of the damage suffered through a separate procedure (damage assessment procedure). If the claimant has legal assistance insurance it will cover the cost of appointing a lawyer if a procedure has to be started.  

Dutch general conditions for an expert report

An expert in the Netherlands very often makes use of general conditions. The lawyer will, on behalf of the client, verify the applicability and the  extent to which the expert can rely on limitations or exclusions of liability (exoneration). The principles of reasonableness and fairness can prevent an expert from relying on general conditions to exclude his liability. Furthermore, general terms and conditions may also contain destructible terms. The lawyer will then be permitted to take extrajudicial measures.

Advice of a Dutch lawyer on faults in an expert report

Dutch lawyers  regularly work with experts. An expert is useful when making an  evaluation, for example in construction, or to request a counter-expertise or second opinion. A lawyer can advise on the choice of an expert and formulate the assignment to the expert, for example  when assessing and collecting evidence from the work of another expert. If you have a question or a dispute about (damage following an expert report), ask our lawyer specialized in Dutch liability law for advice.

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Together with a number of international law firms outside
The Netherlands, Blenheim is member of Lawyers Associated Worldwide.

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