FAQ third party liability
A foreign researcher is working in a university laboratory and is required to handle expensive equipment. How is he insured if he causes damage to some of the equipment? Does it make any difference whether he is working on the basis of a fellowship or under an employment contract? What does the researcher need to do in advance, and what does the institution that he is working at need to do?
There is no statutory personal liability insurance for damages caused to laboratories, neither for employees nor for fellowship holders. It is advisable to obtain private personal liability cover that expressly includes damages incurred in laboratories. Many research institutions only permit access to their laboratories once evidence of adequate personal liability insurance has been provided.
The individual researcher is generally responsible for obtaining personal liability insurance cover. However, the research institution or fellowship donor may voluntarily decide to provide insurance cover for the researcher.
The level of personal liability insurance cover is dependent on the extent to which the university itself is willing to cover the costs of the damages suffered by itself and third parties and waive the demand for compensation. This partly depends on the rules to which the university itself is subject.
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