The Descendants

Michał Krzanowski        26 September 2016        Comments (0)

Recently we have been asked to advise on a very interesting matter in a cross-border personal injury case.

The victim, a resident of the UK, was injured as a result of alleged medical negligence during breast surgery, performed in Poland. Compensatory claims for bodily injury and health disorder were pursued, however only out-of-court (proceedings have not been commenced in court).  The victim unfortunately died a couple years after the surgery was performed.

Initially, we were approached with a request to advise on the limitation periods under the Polish law in respect of the husband of the deceased, who was supposed to pursue the compensatory claims for the victim’s bodily injury and health disorder on behalf of her estate. While providing advice on that subject we also found it important to point out that in general, claims for compensation in respect of personal injury are not hereditary under the Polish law.

There are however a few very specific exceptions from this rule.

These exceptions include situations where the claim for compensation connected with the bodily injury or health disorder is recognized in writing by the wrongdoer, or if the action had been brought in court during the life of the injured person.

However, what does this actually mean in practice? Specific answers may be found in the rich acquis of the Polish judicature and the doctrine. The provisions of the law – even though they may sound familiar – are not always understood in the same (and correct) way by lawyers functioning in different legal systems.

As it turns out, Polish law can be surprising, and you can never be too careful in cross-border personal injury cases.

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