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Many of us live under the assumption, that the liability of the insurance company is unlimited. Reality, however, looks different.

In Poland, the amount of the guarantee sum, and therefore the maximum liability limit of the insurance company, is currently 5 million euro for personal injury and 1 million euro for damage related to property. Unfortunately, this was not always the case…

Compulsory third party liability insurance for motor vehicle owners has been operating in Poland since January 1962. Initially, the regulations did not specify the upper limit of insurers’ liability. The limit of liability of the insurance company was introduced in 1991 and it amounted to 7.2 billion polish zlotys (before denomination) in relation to one event. In the following years, the legislator several times saw the need to strengthen the position of the victims, by increasing the upper limit of liability of insurers. The currently valid guarantee sum in obligatory third party liability insurance provide adequate protection for people injured in traffic accidents. However, victims of road accidents from a dozen or so years ago, very often become destitute due to the exhaustion of guarantee sums, which were established at a very low level years ago.

Exhaustion of the guarantee sum means that the injured person is no longer entitled to compensation benefits in relation to the accident.

One of such people was Mrs. Anna, who in took part in a traffic accident in 1996, as a result of which she suffered serious, irreparable injuries. Mrs. Anna was considered a person permanently incapable of work and independent existence.

On the date of Mrs. Anna’s accident, ordinance of the Minister of Finance from

December 9, 1992, regarding general terms and conditions of motor vehicle liability insurance for damages arising in connection with the movement of these vehicles said, that the insurer’s guarantee sum was approximately EUR 600,000.

In October 2014 the insurance company informed the aggrieved party by letter, that the guarantee sum resulting from the insurance contract, confirmed by the insurance policy, was exhausted, therefore, with the beginning of November 2014, the insurer will cease to pay the pension granted to Mrs. Anna by a court order. Mrs. Anna was to be left without livelihood…

Bearing in mind the unquestionable need to protect the legal interests of Mrs. Anna, as a victim of tort, and guided by the principles of equity and social co-operation, the lawyers of the ECC Law Firm have decided to represent Mrs. Anna against the insurer in court proceedings regarding the increase of the sum and in this case, we filed a lawsuit. After a long struggle, in June 2018 the case found its lucky end. The District Court in Sopot ruled that the liability of the insurance company towards Anna, resulting from the liability policy of the vehicle owner, a vehicle which the accident offender was driving, does not expire with the exhaustion of the guarantee sum provided for in the above-mentioned ordinance of the Minister of Finance. In addition, the Court determined the upper liability (the so-called guarantee sum) of the defendant insurance company is a sum of over 17.5 million PLN. The verdict is not legally binding.