Almost 100 people took part in the conference entitled ‘Application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to the description of harm on the basis of current judicial decisions’, organised by the PIU on 16 December 2019. The conference was intended for lawyers of insurance companies. The aim of the conference was to acquaint the participants with the assumptions of the ICF, to present the possibility of its application by insurance companies and courts for the purposes of damage liquidation and payment of compensation for personal injury, as well as to develop arguments for courts to apply this classification.
The conference was opened by Andrzej Maciążek, Vice-President of the Management Board of the PIU. He stressed that the growing unpredictability of judgements on non-property personal damage had already been noticed in 2013. This was the reason why the Chamber began work on examining the grounds for the implementation of the ICF, developed by WHO, to assess the injured person in personal damage.
The conference was divided into two sections: medical and legal. The speakers during the first section were:
- Professor Anna Wilmowska-Pietruszyńska, President of the ICF Council at the Ministry of Health and President of the Polish Association of Medical Certification,
- Karol Pawlak – Member of the ICF Council at the Ministry of Health,
- Maciej Idzior, MD – specialist in orthopaedics and locomotor system traumatology at Rehasport Clinic, ICR Sp. z o.o., Wiktor Dega Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Clinical Hospital in Poznań.
The speakers presented the application of the ICF, its practical aspects and the possibility of its implementation in medical certification. They indicated how important it is to assess the injured person using a uniform standard, which is provided by the ICF. The speakers during the second section of the meeting were:
- Jakub Pokrzywniak, PhD – legal adviser, partner at Kancelaria WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr Sp. k.,
- Piotr Jakubiec – judge of the District Court in Lublin.
Jakub Pokrzywniak, PhD raised the issue of the possibility of using the ICF for the purpose of personal damage liquidation in light of current judicial decisions. In his opinion, one of the most problematic issues is the lack of uniform rulings. He expressed the belief that the use of the ICF could tackle this phenomenon. According to the speaker, it is reasonable for the ICF to be used to describe the injured person’s harm in determining the amount of compensation both by insurance companies at the stage of liquidation proceedings and by courts at the stage of hearing of evidence. To this end, educational measures and popularisation of the ICF aimed at the community of court experts and judges are necessary. The above solution should then be presented as transparent, simple to apply and helpful in describing the injury.
The position of Mr Pokrzywniak was supported by the next speaker, Judge Piotr Jakubiec. He pointed out the importance of the problem of the shortage of judgements and academic studies that would provide the basis for a unified position of courts in similar factual situations. He also raised the issue of simplified proceedings, during which judges can make their own assessment without the help of an expert opinion. According to Judge Jakubiec, the ICF should be commonly applied, hence the need to provide the court with evidence whose conclusion, concerning the description of the injured person, will be developed using ICF assumptions. This will allow for gradual standardisation of judgements. It was explicitly recognised that the use of the ICF would contribute to increased predictability of judgements. It was also stated that there is a need for solutions to provide rapid assistance to injured persons and to facilitate the work of courts, insurers, certifying physicians and court experts. The solution would be to implement the ICF in damage liquidation.