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LIABILITY CLAIMS ADJUSTMENT

Driver’s liability insurance offers coverage for vehicle owners for damages caused by their vehicle. The insurance covers all motor vehicles: passenger cars, trucks, motorbikes, tractors and other vehicles that can be registered.
The insurance pertains to the civil liability of all persons operating the insured vehicle throughout the duration of the insurance agreement. It covers damages caused by this vehicle within the territories of: 25 European Union Countries: Poland, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Holland, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the territories of Island, Norway, Switzerland and Croatia.
Driver’s liability insurance protects the policy owner or the person operating a vehicle from the financial consequences of damages to third persons. The insurance company compensates the recipient of damages in the name of the insured person. The insurance thus protects the assets of the person responsible for the damages while also guaranteeing that the claimant will be compensated.

Operating a vehicle pertains to more than simply driving it; the term also encompasses:
  • getting in and out of the vehicle,
  • loading and unloading items from the vehicle
  • short break during travel
  • garaging.
  Driver’s liability insurance covers personal as well as property damages caused by the insured driver, owner of a motor vehicle, especially:
  • death of a person directly involved in an accident,
  • bodily injuries,
  • health disturbances,
  • loss or damage of property.
Cases in which the insurer is not responsible for damages are regulated by general liability provisions. Article 38.1 of the Act Concerning Compulsory Insurances, the Insurance Guarantee Found and the Polish Motor Insurance Bureau includes the following exclusions:
  • damage or loss of property caused by the driver and owner of the motor vehicle; this also pertains owners or joint owners of vehicles that caused damages linked with cargo, deliveries or baggage transported for a fee, unless the damages were caused by the owner of a different motor vehicle than the one transporting these items,
  • loss of money, jewelry, securities, all types of documents and philately, numismatics as well as similar items,
  • environmental contamination or pollution.
You must notify the police immediately if:
  • your vehicle has been stolen (or any parts have been stolen),
  • your vehicle was severely damaged,
  • someone was injured in an accident,
  • your car keys or vehicle registration records have been stolen.
The insurance company is obligated to pay compensation within 30 days of the day the person who incurred the damages / beneficiary files a damages report. At times this period can be extended by 14 days if the insurance company could not, within 30 days, determine circumstances necessary to establish the company’s responsibility or the extent of the compensation.   However, in accordance with statutory regulations, compensation must be paid within 90 days of the day the damages report was filed. This period  does not apply if establishing the insurance company’s responsibility or the extent of the compensation depends on an on-going criminal or civil court proceeding.

COMPENSATION – TREATMENT COSTS

According to Article 444 §1 of the Civil Code, the injured party may file for reimbursement of medical costs. These costs may encompass:
  • purchased medicine,
  • costs linked with a special diet during treatment and rehab,
  • the cost of hospital stays and rehab,
  • medical tests, procedures and surgeries,
  • costs of consultations with renowned specialists,
  • expenses linked with physician commuting from closest healthcare facility to facility where the patient is hospitalized, if required, ,
  • costs of bandages and rehab equipment,,
  • costs linked with additional care during treatment,
  • costs of orthopedic equipment and prosthesis,
  • travel costs of immediate family members for visits with patient,
  • dental treatment in case of acute inflammation and pain or if such treatment was necessary as a result of an unfortunate accident,
  • costs linked with training for a new position / job.
The claimant only needs to demonstrate the probability of the costs taking place, based on bills or statements, and can ask the person  responsible for the accident/insurer to cover the costs up front.

COMPENSATION – STOLEN VEHICLE (COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE INSURANCE)

Adjustment period 
Most insurance companies define the period within which compensation will be paid in their general conditions. Usually provisions concerning payment terms are duplicates of Article 817 of the Civil Code. We may encounter the following provisions:
The insurance provider shall provide compensation within 30 days of the day it was notified of damages. If it is impossible to determine the circumstances or the extent of compensation within this period, compensation will be paid within 14 days of the day the circumstances are determined. Yet most payments are made within 30 days of the damages report; in addition, if the vehicle’s owner is not entitled to compensation the insurance provider will inform him or her in writing within the periods stated above, indicating the circumstances and legal basis of why compensation was denied.
  • decyzji o wyrejestrowaniu pojazdu,
  • cession of rights to stolen vehicle,
  • vehicle’s history (if owner is in possession of such documents),
  • purchase invoice or agreement, investigation discontinuance statement (if stated in insurance conditions).
This is your money and you must do everything it takes to provide the required documentation. The insurance company’s employees will not infinitely ask for documentation of the extent of the damages. Please provide all required documents as soon as possible; if you hand over any documentation ask for confirmation along with date and signature.
  • Compensation,
  • Towing costs,
  • Parking costs,
  • Car rental costs,
  • Claim assessor’s expenses.
Comprehensive coverage does not cover:
  • damages caused intentionally or as a result of gross negligence of the vehicle’s owner or household resident or person responsible for the vehicle,
  • damages that took place while its owner / driver was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics or other substances,
  • damages that took place while driving without valid documentation entitling the driver to operate the vehicle,
  • if the driver flees the place of the accident,
  • if the damages occurred while the vehicle was driven without registration or without a valid technical inspection,
  • if the damages occurred while the vehicle was used to commit a crime by its owner or a person entitled to its use,
  • if the damages occurred as a result of a theft or while the vehicle was seized and:
    • keys or vehicle documents were kept without due diligence outside of the vehicle,
    • the vehicle was not secured in a manner foreseen by its construction and all security devices were not activated before the theft.

COMPENSATION – PENSION

A person injured in an accident is entitled to a pension if he or she has partially or fully incapable of making an income. To file a substantiated claim you must fulfill two requirements.
  • you must provide a statement of your partial or full inability to work,
  • your inability to work must generate a decrease of income.
A pension only covers the amount of lost income that is directly linked with your accident (is the outcome of an injury incurred during an accident).
An accident victim is entitled to a pension if he or she has diminished perspectives of successful employment in the future.
An accident victim is entitled to a pension is he or she now has greater needs.
An accident is linked with greater needs / requirements – including medical attention and medical expenses. The person responsible for the accident is entitled to cover these expenses (or rather the ,  responsible party’s insurance company).
Legal basis: Article 444 § 2 of the Civil Code
Case law emphasizes that injuries or health disorders must be long-term  - in nature: only then is the injured person entitled to a pension.   A pension may be granted for a limited time if this period can be established with a degree   of precision at the time it is granted.
Single indemnity – pension capitalization – Article 444 of the Civil Code.
The injured person may demand single indemnity instead of a pension. This is usually the case if the accident victim has become disabled and a single indemnity will facilitate job training for a new position.
An alimony pension is paid if the accident victim  vicitm  passes away.  Following death, the persons supported by the deceased may file for compensation with the committer’s insurance provider. This principally includes children raised by the deceased as well as – in some cases – a spouse or partner as well as other immediate family members supported by the deceased.
Legal basis: Article 446 § 2 of the Civil Code

COMPENSATION – PERSONAL DAMAGES

Personal damages  include injuries and health disorders; as we all know health is our most valuable asset. The civil code (Article 445) regulates and lists all possible claims linked with bodily injuries and health disorders resulting from communication accidents eligible for relief – a single payment of compensation.

An insurance company is obligated to compensate us for two types of  claims linked with personal damages.

1. Persons, who incurred bodily injuries as a result of an accident – compensation is paid to the injured person.
2. The death of a person involved in an accident – compensation is paid to the victim’s family.

We must keep in mind an important regulatory change regarding claims linked with the aforementioned cases. In accordance with Paragraph 4 of Article 446 of the Civil Code: “A court may grant compensation to the immediate family of the deceased for incurred damages.”
This change to the civil code offers new possibilities for claims filed by immediate family members of the deceased..
It is thus possible to seek compensation for non- financial damages –   pain and suffering ensuing from the death of a family member.

The civil code defines damages as encompassing:

I. Bodily damages or health disturbances 
II. Circumstances resulting from a death 
IIIPremeditated violation of personal rights 
IV. Financial compensation for damages  not of a financial nature

COMPENSATION LGAL RECOURSE

Legal recourse entitles an insurance company to seek reimbursement of compensation paid on behalf of a driver with driver’s liability insurance. This entitlement is called legal recourse..

The legislator has listed all cases in which the insurance provider may call upon legal recourse. A provider is entitled to do so if the driver:
1. Caused damages intentionally  or was under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, psychoactive drugs  or other substances as defined by counteracting drug abuse regulations,
2. Obtained the vehicle as a result of a crime,
3. Did not have necessary permits to operate a motor vehicle, with the exclusion of cases when operating the vehicle was necessary  to save a life or property or when pursuing a person directly after he or she committed a crime,
4. The driver fled the scene of the accident.

It must be mentioned that the above circumstances are those listed by the legislator. 
In each of the cases listed above the insurance provider may initiate a proceeding to explain the circumstances and may seek reimbursement of paid compensation. The insurance provider may also file for reimbursement of costs linked with  claims adjustment.

Legal basis:
Act of the 22nd of May 2003 concerning compulsory insurances, the Insurance Guarantee Found and the Polish Motor Insurance Bureau – Article 43.

COMPENSATION FOR UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENTS

An unfortunate accident is a sudden incident with an external cause, as a result of which the insured party incurred an injury, health disorder or passed away.
Accident insurance provides financial aid in case of bodily injuries, health disorders or death.

A person insured against accidents will receive compensation if the unfortunate accident takes place when:
  • operating a vehicle,
  • getting in/out of a vehicle,
  • vehicle is parked,
  • vehicle is under repair,
  • when loading/unloading vehicle.
Accident insurance provides the following basic benefits:
  • in case of long-term health disorders, e.g. in case of partial or full disability,
  • in case of death due to an unfortunate accident – compensation is paid to the person indicated in the insurance agreement,
  • in case of death due to an unfortunate accident – compensation is paid to the person indicated in the insurance agreement.

COMPENSATION-RELIEF

Relief is a one-time financial benefit, the purpose of which is to alleviate the victim’s physical and mental suffering. A person is entitled to relief under the condition   that he or she has experienced suffering, defined as negative mental consequences resulting from a delict.
Compensation, on the other hand, is paid if there are damages – in other words unfavorable changes in the victim’s financial status resulting from a delict..
Claims of this type are the focus of Article 445 § 1 of the Civil Code in connection with Article 444 of the Civil Code. Compensation in the form of relief is financial in nature.
For the amount of relief to be established it is necessary to take all circumstances under consideration, especially the degree and length of physical and mental suffering (hospital stay, pain during treatment, surgeries, treatments at a sanatorium, etc.), the duration of the consequences of the accident (disability, disfiguration, loss of the ability to live independently, feelings of uselessness), the victim’s age (disability is usually of greater significance in the case of a child), inability to live a normal life, including professionally, participating in sports activities, getting married, having children, establishing social contacts, etc.
  • advance payment to cover medical expenses,
  • reimbursement of documented treatment costs, travel costs, travel to follow-up visits, rehab, travel costs for immediate family members for visitation, costs of a special diet, medical supplements, costs of bandages, orthopedic equipment, paid doctor’s visits, costs of sanatorium stays, costs of medical care – if necessary,
  • costs of necessary job training in case of vocational requalification,
  • any losses incurred as a result of hospital stays, medical leave from work (of the victim and persons caring for the victim),
  • costs of clothing damaged during the accident.
  • reimbursement of treatment and funeral costs,
  • alimony pension,
  • compensation in the form of single indemnity due to a significant decline of living situation,
  • relief in the form of single indemnity in case of the death of a loved one.
  • In accordance with Article 446 § 3 of the Civil Code, the court may grant compensation to the family members of the deceased if, as a result of the death, their living situation has significantly deteriorated.
Living situation should be understood as the entirety of factors that comprise a person’s life, thus it is difficult to speak about measurable economic value (judgment of the Supreme Court of the 28th of July 1976, IV CR 271/76). This is why, as is emphasized in case law, a deteriorated living situation is more than just a deteriorated financial situation – it also signifies a loss of the possibility to stabilize living conditions or the possibility of these conditions improving. Such deterioration takes place, inter alia, following the death of a spouse or the father of underage children. It does not, however, mean financial payment for moral suffering resulting from the death of the injured person (as decreed by the Supreme Court on the 26th of October 1970, III PZP 22/70).
The above regulation uses the term immediate family members, which include the parents and children of the decreased, as well as those sharing family ties (thus other family members, stepparents, as well as children under foster care).
The legal basis for relief due to the death of a family member can be found in Article 446 § 4 of the Civil Code of the 3rd of August 2008.

In accordance with the above, if – as a result of an injury or health disorder – the accident victim passes away, the court may grant financial relief to immediate family members for their loss. This regulation is the legislator’s answer to the Ombudsman’s speech: “in order to increase protection for communication accident victims in the Civil Code, a regulation has been included on financial relief for suffering due to the death of an immediate family member”.

TYPES OF CLAIMS IN THE EVENT OF A BODILY INJURY OR HEALTH DISTURBANCES

Single indemnity  (Article 444 Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code) is linked with covering all expenses resulting from  an accident (an injured person may demand reimbursement of medical costs to be paid up front or once treatment is over, based on original invoices or receipts)
  • hospital stay expenses,
  • costs of medicine and rehabilitation equipment,
  • expenses linked with a diet necessary subsequent to hospital stay / surgery / treatment,
  • costs of additional healthcare,
  • costs of vocational training,
  • transportation costs of closest family members for medical consultations and visits with patient,
  • costs of consultations with renowned specialists, if necessary for further treatment.
The person responsible for the accident is obligated to cover all losses resulting from an accident and lost financial benefits (the injured party must document such loses – declarations from tax authorities, tax returns, employment agreements, contracts, etc.). For the claim to be permissible it is necessary to document partial inability to work and document a loss of income. The objective of compensation for lost income is to even out the injured party’s income and is not meant to be a main source of income.
The law allows an injured person to file for compensation in the form of a pension for increased needs/requirements which include: medical care, rehabilitation equipment, depreciation of this equipment, necessary medicine. In order to file for compensation due to increased medical costs it is necessary to present doctor’s certification which states the medical care/rehabilitation period.
Relief is a unique form of benefits. Unlike compensation, the aim of which is to remedy material and measurable damages, relief remedies damages which are “difficult to assess” – physical and mental pain and suffering. There is no predefined manner of assessing relief; many factors from the injured person’s life must be taken under consideration. These principally include: bodily damages incurred as a result of the accident, treatment duration, manner in which treatment proceeded, rehab period and further recuperation.
If, as a result of bodily injuries or health disorders, the injured person passes away, family members may file for compensation based on Article 446 of the Civil Code.
In accordance with Art. 446, we are legally entitled to:
Reimbursement of treatment and funeral costs as well  as:
  • a pension,
  • single indemnity,
  • financial relief to compensate suffering.
  Family members gain right to the above benefits if the injured party passed away as a result of bodily injuries or health disturbances. To file for compensation based on Article 446 the death does not have to occur immediately after the accident. There does, however, need to be a causal relationship between the death and the incident.

TOTAL LOSS

Total loss  takes place when repair costs exceed a specified viability threshold. The vehicle’s owner receives compensation calculated as the difference between the vehicle’s value on the day of the accident and the vehicle’s value following the accident (after damages).

Is the insurance company obligated to acquire the damaged vehicle? 
Unfortunately driver’s liability regulations do not obligate an insurance company to acquire a damaged vehicle. The owner may only file for claims adjustment with so-called acquisition of the damaged vehicle but the insurer does not have to agree to do so. If the accident was not caused by the driver, total loss takes place when the value of the repairs exceeds the value of the car by 100% (the vehicle’s value at the time of the damages).
Unfortunately driver’s liability regulations do not obligate an insurance company to acquire a damaged vehicle. The owner may only file for claims adjustment with so-called acquisition of the damaged vehicle but the insurer does not have to agree to do so. If the accident was not caused by the driver, total loss takes place when the value of the repairs exceeds the value of the car by 100% (the vehicle’s value at the time of the damages).

LOWERED VEHICLE VALUE AND COMPENSATION

If within the last three years your car was damaged in an accident and you filed to adjust claims (driver’s liability insurance held by the person responsible for the accident), come to us with full documentation and we will file for compensation due to loss of your vehicle’s market value – you are entitled to do so in most cases, as stated by the Supreme Court. This offer is directed especially to car owners whose vehicle was 5 years old at the time of the accident, purchased as new at a dealership and has no accident history. < br />
In accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgments, compensation in such cases encompasses loss of the vehicle’s market value. This seems obvious, as we all know that the value a car with an accident history drops by approx. 10-20%. It is important to note that the Supreme Court ruled that it is not relevant whether the car owner planned on selling the vehicle before the accident.

The Supreme Court ruled as follows:
“compensation for a damaged vehicle may encompass, apart from repair costs, a sum corresponding with the difference in the car’s value before and after the repairs".

Car owners will be happy to note that they are entitled to the above compensation even if claims were already adjusted: this means that vehicle owners who already received compensation for repair costs may additionally file for compensation due to decreased market value of their vehicle. This is because claims of this sort have a three-year statute of limitation; if the person who caused the accident was held responsible for committing a crime – even a 10 year statute of limitation. This is clearly stated in Article 442(1) § 1 and 2 of the Civil Code. Determining loss of a vehicle’s market value is not as difficult as it may seem and it is easy to prepare additional claims. Of course most insurance companies are not too eager to accept such claims due to additional compensation costs.