This article was made on the base of conversation with my friend few days back. She was not aware about steps which supposed to be taken in case of a road collision or a car accident in Poland. I made already an article about driving license in Poland and about buying a car here, therefore, I am following up with post below. However, I wish you to never have an opportunity to use this knowledge in practice. List of subjects below:

“Road collision” and “Car accident” in Poland?

Let’s start with definitions of collision and accident, since knowing this allows us to take a proper action in case of one these things would have happened to you. I will quote and translate here definitions from Infor:

We usually talk about a “road collision” (kolizja drogowa) when there is a damage to property, i.e. broken cars, damaged fence, pole, etc. We also talk about it when there are no injured people, when no one was hurt in the incident. In the Polish road code, we will not find such a concept as a road collision. It is the policemen who speak this colloquially because it is easier to say a collision than, for example, an accident in which there are no victims.

According to the Road Traffic Act, a “car/road accident” is an incident in road traffic in which a person was killed or suffered any bodily injuries, or damage to property. If someone has been injured, which the doctor has described as “more than seven days”, then we are talking about a traffic accident.

Source: Infor

This clearly divides road events for with and without any health injury. As we have this clarified, I will go on with giving steps to follow in both cases.

Steps in case of road collision

Road collision in Poland
Road collision in Poland

After a crash, first of all, you should remove the cars from the road, collect glass or other parts of the car and try to communicate with the other driver. If the participants of a road collision come to an agreement as to the fault, they should write and sign a declaration. Here is the information it must contain:

  • data of the perpetrator of a road collision,
  • driving license category and number as well as the name of the issuer of the document,
  • name of the insurance company, policy number, and duration of the insurance
  • description of the circumstances of the road collision (including date, time, place, cause of the collision and unequivocal identification of the culprit).

Without these data, the perpetrator may in the future challenge the statement and the thread of damages. It is best to always have a ready-made form with you. I managed to find such form available in Polish and English, so you can download it for yourself at the bottom of this post. Getting to grips with guilt and crash responsibility without calling the police, has one advantage for the preparator. It allows the perpetrator to avoid fines and penalty points, which he would receive from policeman.

Photographic documentation is very useful, especially for determining those responsible for the accident and the subsequent loss adjustment process. So, if you have such a possibility, let’s take photos of the road collision. If the drivers cannot establish a clear cause of the collision, the police must be called. It is the policeman who will determine the guilt, write a protocol useful in further proceedings before the court or in the insurance company, and will impose a fine on the perpetrator.

Steps in case of road/car accident in Poland

Car accident in Poland
Car accident in Poland

However, if there is a road accident and people are injured, then we leave the vehicles and their parts where they are and wait for the police to arrive. First of all, we should check the condition of the injured and secure the scene. The first minutes can decide about the chances of survival or recovery for an injured person. Irreversible changes occur in the hypoxic brain of an unconscious person after 4 minutes.

Therefore, we operate on the “stop, think and act” principle. We start by assessing the situation and securing the scene of the road accident.

  1. Turn on the hazard lights in your car, apply the handbrake and remove the key from the ignition switch.
  2. Place an emergency triangle (in the built-up area right next to the accident site, on the regular road 60 meters away, on the highway and expressway 100-150 m).
  3. Turn off the engine and remove the ignition key in other cars involved in a road accident (if their drivers are unable to do it themselves). Leave the keys under the windshield.
  4. We assess the condition of the injured – are they conscious, injured, are there children among them, are they at risk of inflammation, are they standing stable. This information will be useful when calling for help.
  5. We call for help by calling the emergency number 112 (European emergency number).
  6. We provide help to people according to our rescue skills. The priority is to stop hemorrhages and restore breathing and circulation if we can do this.

Except steps to follow…

Our operation will be more effective if we are helped by other witnesses of the incident or efficient participants in a car accident. It is worth asking everyone nearby for help. Someone may make telephone calls while others mark the accident site with their own emergency triangles. Cooperation will allow you to deal with the injured and unconscious faster. Remember that road accident witnesses, for example drivers and passengers of passing cars, have a legal obligation to help victims. In the worst case scenario, the penalty for not providing assistance may be equal with 3 years in prison.

PMIB / PBUK

Car accident in Poland - PMBIK / PBUK
Car accident in Poland – PMBIK / PBUK

Let’s start with clarifying PBUK / PMIB. PMIB – Polish Motor Insurers’ Bureau which means in Polish: PBUK – Polskie Biuro Ubezpieczycieli Komunikacyjnych. PBUK is the association of Polish Insurers underwriting in the territory of Poland compulsory motor third party liability insurance, commonly referred to as MTPL insurance.

So, car accident or collision in Poland might be divided into 3x different legal acts, depending on origin of second driver (taking into the consideration that you have a car registered in Poland). Before we start with scenarios, you might want to know, which countries are using regular liability insurance policy. Also, which are the ones with Green Card or where is the frontier insurance required. PBUK/PMIB made already great map with list of all countries claryfing the same. Just click on this link to check it. Now, as we have this clarified, let’s go on with scenarios.

Scenario 1: Event involving the vehicle registered in the territory of EEA (EOG), Andorra or Serbia.

Persons driving vehicles registered in territory of EEA European Economic Area (EOG – Europejski Obszar Gospodarczy), Andorra or Serbia are not obliged to carry the certificate of third party liability insurance – Green Card. This includes car registered in Poland and makes around 95% of all cases. In case of an accident, note down the registration number, make of the vehicle that caused the damage, policy number and name of the insurer. If the police did not intervene draw up, together with the offender, already mentioned statement of the circumstances of the accident. Downloadable POL-EN version in paragraph below.

If you know the name of the insurer

In case, that you know with which company the offender is insured, check in the correspondent search engine available on official site of PBUK, whether this company has a nominated correspondent in Poland. If yes, report the claim to the correspondent. In case you do not find the correspondent of the offender’s insurer, please contact PZU S.A. or TUiR Warta S.A. and report your claim to one of those insurance companies, acting as PMIB (PBUK) agents.

If you do not know the name of the insurer

If you don’t know with which company the offender of the event is insured, please contact PZU S.A. or TUiR Warta S.A. File your claim with one of those insurance companies, specifying the offender’s registration number and country of registration (Attention: The plates and place of a registration of a car are important and not nationality of the driver.) On the basis of agreements concluded with the PMIB those companies will notify us of the claim and perform a survey and assessment of the loss to your vehicle.

Scenario 2: Accidents involving a vehicle the driver of which had a Green Card

Drivers of the vehicles registered outside the EEA, Andorra and Serbia are required to carry international certificate of motor third party liability insurance. So called, Green Card or frontier insurance. In case of accident, note down the registration number, make of the vehicle that caused the damage, Green Card (Zielona Karta) or frontier insurance (Ubezpieczenie Graniczne).

As in previous case, if the police did not intervene draw up, together with the offender, a statement of the circumstances of the accident. Check in the correspondent search engine whether the company which has issued the Green Card for the offender has a nominated correspondent in the territory of Poland. Assuming yes, report the claim to the correspondent.

In case you do not find the correspondent of the offender’s insurer, please contact PZU S.A. or TUiR Warta S.A. and report your claim to one of those insurance companies, acting as PMIB agent. If you do not know the name of the company that issued the Green Card, contact PMIB. Answering your question – yes they do speak English.

Scenario 3: Accident involving a vehicle the driver of which held frontier insurance

To handle the claim contact the insurance company that issued the frontier insurance. If the frontier insurance is not valid, the claim should be reported to Insurance Guarantee Fund through the intermediary of any TPL insurer.

Downloadable file – accident statement in PDF

As I promised already, below you will find a link to Accident Statement in both languages. Polish and English. I definitely recommend to have it with you in your car if you are a driver, but I also wish you to never have a need to use it.

Summary of Car accident in Poland

That would be all as we talk about Steps to take in case of a car accident. I hope, that this clarifies the process and steps to follow.

Would you like to read more publications about “Transport” on my blog? Click here. You may also get to main “Table of content“, which is available here.

infor.pl; moto.pl/Porady/; pbuk.pl; wikipedia.pl

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