Sufficient certainty about liable party triggers limitation period for damages claims
The Dutch Supreme Court recently issued an important ruling on the commencement of the limitation period for compensation claims. Under Dutch law, the limitation period starts running as soon as the injured party has knowledge of the damage, and of who is liable. Previous decisions show that knowledge should be interpreted as actual knowledge, and that a mere presumption of damage does not suffice. The injured party has to be capable of instituting legal action; that is, the injured party must have a sufficient degree of certainty about whose actions caused the damage. Accordingly, the Court decided in this case that merely knowing about the possibility of a party being liable is not enough to trigger the limitation period. This ruling shows that the requirement for actual knowledge is not easily met. When in doubt, it is advisable for injured parties to notify the potentially liable party a claim may be made.