Low guarantee sums in civil liability insurance coverage – road traffic accidents

Jolanta Budzowska        11 August 2019        Comments (0)

Soon new regulations, which aim to solve financial problems of people who ran out of guarantee sums, will come into force in Poland. Thanks to the new act, victims of road traffic accidents from years ago will be able to receive additional assistance.

How did the guarantee sums in civil liability insurance coverage of motor vehicles grow?

In the history of compulsory civil liability insurance, the guarantee sums certainly varied. In 1991 the sum amounted to 720 thousand PLN, and by 2003 it increased to 600 thousand EUR for one event. Later, between 2004 and 2005, it amounted to 350 000 EUR per each victim. It was not until 2006 that the guarantee sums were gradually increased from 1,5 million EUR to today’s 5,21 million EUR for one event. It is clear that victims of accidents from years ago were thus in a much worse position since the insurer’s liability limit was much lower back then. Works on changing this situation were initiated by the Polish Ombudsman’s report. He indicated situations where victims whose guarantee sum was used up were left without benefits. Many of them with nothing to live on. These cases mostly concern liability for road traffic accidents prior to 2006.

Pension as primary protection

The purpose of the new act is primarily to secure the basic life needs of the victims. Hence why claims to pensions were limited in accordance with Article 444 of the Civil Code.

The Act on special rights of victims in the event of exhaustion of guarantee sum which was determined  on the basis of regulations in force before 1 January 2006 enables to improve the living conditions of persons who have no means of subsistence or whose situation significantly deteriorated. The injured parties will be able to claim a disability pension under Article 444 of the Civil Code. It provides reimbursement of costs arising from bodily injury or a health disorder, including medical costs as well as the costs of preparation for another profession. In addition, it makes it possible to grant a pension due to reduced prospects of success in the future or increased needs of the injured, e.g. related to the purchase of rehabilitation equipment.

New applications needed

Claims will not be treated as a continuation of benefits already paid out, but rather re-examined. Such a mechanism is objective. Additionally, these rights have been extended to persons who were injured in the period when the guarantee sums amounted to 350 thousand EUR per injured party, i.e. years 2004-2005.

 

 

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