Before a claim for compensation is made, it is necessary to take appropriate preparatory activities aimed at obtaining a possibly complete documentation which will then be used to prepare the lawsuit and as the evidence in the course of the trial.

The first step is to apply for complete certified copies of the medical records of the medical treatment from the institutions against which the patient intends to file a claim for compensation. In some situations it will be necessary to obtain such documentation also from those institutions whose services the patient used before or after the medical treatment or surgery which constitute the ground for compensation claim.

It is also crucial to note that when the person makes a decision to litigate his or her case for compensation, they should gather all kinds of documents that certify the amount of expenditure that they incur (or have incurred) in connection with the injury suffered. These are primarily invoices and bills for the medicines purchased, the visits to specialists, participation in rehabilitation camps and for travel costs to hospital as well as the costs of the care provided by the third parties, and for the costs of adapting a dwelling or a vehicle for the disabled person, and the like.

What can prove helpful will be drawing up a table showing the costs incurred in respect of pecuniary damage, as well as the breakdown of monthly costs incurred in connection with the injury.

The collected documents will be used in the lawsuit. The lawsuit will be then filed with the court. The proceedings before the court of the first instance usually last between one to three years. Then, if any party (i.e. either the claimant or the defendant) lodges an appeal against the judgment, there shall commence the proceedings before the court of the second instance which last approximately 1 year. The judgment of the court of the second instance is final, yet in certain cases it is possible to submit a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court.


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Jolanta Budzowska