Over 2,000 road accident victims have been offered a rehabilitation programme by their insurer over the past 3 years, according to estimates by the Polish Chamber of Insurance (PIU). The aim of the programmes is, first and foremost, to ensure that injured persons recover and return to independent living.
In total, 44% of the programmes last from 6 to 12 months. One third of injured people require therapy for more than one year. Only in 22% of cases can rehabilitation be completed in less than six months. ‘This is usually a long process. It includes not only physical, but also psychological, social and professional therapy. The programmes often contain benefits that are not refunded by the National Health Fund’, says Dorota M. Fal, adviser to the Management Board of PIU.
An injured person is offered rehabilitation by the accident perpetrator’s third-party liability insurer. The cost of the programme is borne by the insurer, who also organises the entire process. Most insurance companies have separate teams responsible for the relationship with injured persons who are being rehabilitated.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO START REHABILITATION QUICKLY
– ‘Qualification for the insurer’s programme is affected by the type of injuries, the time elapsed since the accident and the prognosis for the future. The key is to start therapy as soon as possible. Often, disability after an accident means limiting social contacts or abandoning a career. In many cases, quick rehabilitation makes it possible to avoid such consequences’, emphasises Dorota M. Fal.
Where accident injuries prevent a full recovery, the insurer tries to organise therapy that will improve the injured person’s health, reduce disability and enable him/her to adapt to the new situation.
– ‘If necessary, employment counsellors are involved in the insurer’s rehabilitation programme to examine the injured person’s possibilities for retraining. The programmes may also include redevelopment of the injured person’s apartment or house, so as to adapt the place of residence to the disabled person’s needs’, says Dorota M. Fal.
EXAMPLES OF REHABILITATION PROGRAMMES CARRIED OUT BY THE ACCIDENT PERPETRATOR’S THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY INSURER
- A woman injured in a car accident suffered multiple fractures to her legs, damage to her spine, ribs and lungs. She had difficulty moving around independently and, because of the pain, moving as a passenger in a car. The rehabilitation programme lasted 36 months and the woman regained her physical fitness and returned to her normal professional, social and family functioning. She has resumed her interrupted studies, continues to work and has given birth to a child, of whom she is able to take full care.
- An young man suffered a number of injuries to his head, internal organs, ribs and limbs in an accident. He had difficulty functioning independently. The concussion caused short-term memory loss, dizziness and sleep problems. The injured man had to stop working and relied on the care of his next of kin in his daily life. The treatment and rehabilitation programme provided by a third-party insurer lasted 14 months. Full recovery was not possible, so the goal of the programme was to restore the man’s motor, cognitive and mental fitness to the best possible level. At the same time, activities aimed at social and professional activation were carried out. The man now lives completely independently, has found a job and is planning to start studying.
- A 27-year-old woman suffered a cervical spine fracture. She required the support of her next of kin in all activities of her daily life. She received assistance from the perpetrator’s third-party liability insurer
and was taken to a rehabilitation centre. Her rehabilitation required the use of a passive robot. This enabled her to walk, initially with the aid of a walker. Then, the therapists used an active exoskeleton, which enabled the patient to re-learn the correct walking pattern. After 6 months, the woman left the rehabilitation centre as an able-bodied person requiring no assistance from others.
- A 46-year-old man was hit on a pedestrian crossing. He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and skull bones. The internal organ injuries resulted in respiratory failure. The rehabilitation programme lasted a year. Full recovery was not possible, but, thanks to therapy, the injured man was able to move around independently. Through consultations with an employment counsellor, he found a job with a certificate of partial incapacity for work.