The personal injury team at the BFP law firm specializes in every kind of personal injury case where the injury occurred on the territory of Poland. We have represented, and are still representing, hundreds of clients across Poland, as well as residents of other countries, that seek compensation for their injury resulting from medical negligence, road traffic accidents, aviation accidents, defective products, and others. [Read more.]

New resolution of the Supreme Court regarding the costs of care provided by closest relatives

Gabriela Lenarczyk27 July 2020Komentarze (0)

The resolution, adopted by a panel of 7 Supreme Court judges, of 22 July 2020 (file ref. No. III CZP 31/19) reads: 

A victim who suffered bodily injury or health impairment may claim compensation  under Article 444§1 of the Civil Code for the costs of care provided to him free of charge by persons close to him. 

Implications for practice  

Although the reasoning of the Court has not been published yet, the thesis of the resolution conveys what is most important: that the costs of care provided by the persons close to the victim shall be reimbursed by the perpetrator of the damage. 

The Supreme Court resolution is not novel in terms of case law relating to pension. The courts have consistently included costs of care provided by the closest relatives in pension for increased needs (awarded for the future i.e. from the date of request for payment or filing a claim). 

The Supreme Court has now further reinforced that the costs of care may be reimbursed retrospectively, as part of compensation. Of course, in so far as the claim has not become time-barred. 

The Supreme Court has once again resolved an ambiguity in favour of the victims

The costs of care provided by closest relatives – “free of charge”?

It goes without saying that, if it is possible, it is the closest relatives who provide care to a child injured during birth or in an accident. The mother or father give up all other activities, often also their jobs, and devote their time to provide the victim with loving care and the best possible conditions. 

Their care includes not only basic nursing activities. They often provide physiotherapy of a quality comparable to treatments carried out by physiotherapists working at the hospital. They substitute for a nurse. Provide emotional and mental support. It was therefore incomprehensible that the costs of care were born by the perpetrator only when the care was provided by a stranger and not when the caretaker was a person close to the victim. 

The fact that the victim does not employ his relatives does not imply that the care is free – it undoubtedly affects the livelihood of the family. The “free of charge” care provided to a child by its mother has real economic value. 

The Supreme Court has thus once again resolved an ambiguity in favour of the victims. 

Resolutions adopted by a panel of 7 Supreme Court judges are not directly binding to courts hearing similar cases. They do however influence common courts with the reasoning and authority of the Supreme Court.

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