Court: NAM also liable for immaterial damage caused by Groningen fracking earthquakes

Dutch petroleum company NAM can be held liable for immaterial damage suffered by a number of Groningen earthquake victims, the court in Assen ruled on Wednesday. This immaterial damage includes physical symptoms like headaches as well as psychological problems like anxiety, reports. 

Lawyer Pieter Huitema filed this lawsuit on behalf of 127 Groningen residents against the Dutch state and NAM in February 2014. The victims claim that fracking earthquakes affected their enjoyment of life and caused mental suffering. "Some of my clients are so anxious that they have trouble functioning. They also complain about nuisance because they constantly have contractors across the floor in connection with the damage to their home. All of these symptoms together are referred to as non-material injury", the lawyer said, according to

The court ruled in favor of a number of these claimants and held NAM liable for the non-material damage. According to the court, there is not sufficient ground to hold the State accountable too.

Huitema is claiming compensation for his clients. The amounts will be determined in a future procedure. "This can range from 3,000 to 30,000 euros per person", according to the lawyer.

In April last year the University of Groningen released a study showing that dealing with multiple earthquake damage to their homes affects the health of Groningen residents. According to the university, this can partly be attributed to the feeling of insecurity these people experience. They have symptoms including insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations adn headaches. The study was commissioned by the National Coordinator for Groningen.