Vehicles, vehicles everywhere

Jolanta Budzowska        11 September 2018        Comments (0)

The recent judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which tackle the matter of when a vehicle can and cannot be considered “in use”, are getting more and more attention. In particular, the judgment from 28 November 2017 (C-514/16), in accordance to which a vehicle will not be in use when its principal function, at the time of the accident, was not to serve as a means of transport, has sparked discussion about the potential of implementing appropriate amendments into the Motor Insurance Directive (as can be seen from a still fairly recent press release of the European Commission ).

The impact that these potential changes may have on the position of road traffic accident victims may be significant, depending on the jurisdiction. For example, under Polish law, the Polish judicature has presented a standpoint that it is not relevant whether a vehicle was used as a means of transport at the time of the accident when determining whether it was in use. This is reflected, among others, in the judgments of the Supreme Court of Poland dated 19 December 2013 (II CSK 157/13) and 26 February 2015 (III CSK 187/14).

As such, implementing amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive, aimed at limiting the scope of the Directive to only such vehicles that served principally as a means of transport at the time of the accident, could result in a shift that would be detrimental to victims injured in Poland, in certain situations.

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