Costs of assistance to the victim cannot be reimbursed automatically

In its resolution of 13 March 2012, the Supreme Court stated that costs of assistance in pre-trial proceedings cannot be automatically reimbursed to victims of accidents caused by the perpetrator and covered with the perpetrator’s liability insurance.

The Supreme Court rejected automatic reimbursement of assistance costs raised by the Insurance Ombudsman in a question addressed to the Court. Therefore, it is already the second time in the past few months (previous cases involved a substitute vehicle), when the Supreme Court decided that any costs incurred by the victims, must be reasonable and necessary.

The Supreme Court confirmed that each case must be considered individually. Today’s insurance practice indicates cases in which such an additional technical expertise (if its validity has been confirmed) is included in the amount of compensation.

At this stage, an unsolved issue is a question asked by the Insurance Ombudsman about the “cost of the victim’s replacement with a proxy.” The Supreme Court states in the resolution that assistance costs must be “reasonable”, “necessary” and “executed by a person with the necessary professional qualifications.”

To obtain the exact interpretation of “necessary qualifications,” we have to wait for the Supreme Court’s reasons for the judgement. As of today, the most important thing for the insured is the lack of automation in refunding the costs of a proxy in each case of services provided by unqualified persons in an unjustified manner — says Jan Grzegorz Prądzyński, President of the Management Board of the Polish Insurance Association.

Today’s resolution of the Supreme Court states as follows:
“Reasonable and necessary costs of assistance provided by a person with the necessary qualifications, incurred by the victim in the pretrial proceedings conducted by the insurer may, in certain circumstances, constitute a property damage subject to compensation under the compulsory liability insurance of motor vehicle owners (Article 36 paragraph 1 of the Act of 22 May 2003 on compulsory insurance, the Insurance Guarantee Fund and the Polish Motor Insurers’ Bureau; Journal of Laws No 124, item. 1152, as amended.).”