Legal Limitation Periods for Compensation of Damage from Motor Third Party Liability Insurance


The commencement of calculation of the period of legal limitation for compensation of damage from motor third party liability insurance is a problem for which the consensus either on scientific or practical level has not been achieved. This is mostly significant in cases where the damage was caused by a criminal offense. Recent decisions of national courts and Court of Justice of European Union leads to non-appliance of the privileged limitation period towards the motor third party liability insurer. It seems to be justified having in mind that longer period of legal limitation is prescribed as some kind of punishment against its offender. Appliying of the same period towards the insurer, infriges the fair balance between the parties, and lets the insurer mandatory to make the objections and prove the facts that are difficult to be proven due to passing of the time. The another doubtful question is determination of legal limitation for subrogation claims. Since the source of obligation in those cases is compensation of damage, and not the payment for another person, the only fair solution is the appliance of the same legal limitation period for both the insurer and the policyholder, or the claimant, to the third party liability insurer. National legislations of EU member states contain completely different legal limitation periods so it causes the legal uncertainity, especially in cross-border cases. That was the reason why the EU legislator started with procedure of harmonization of the rules on linitation, with intention of enacting of a new Directive on common limitation periods for cross-border road traffic accidents. By taking of the legislation initiative on EU level, the higher level of protection of the cross-border accident victims would be achieved. However, only if national legislators would, by implementation of the Directive and its proposed term for limitation of 4 years, prescribe the same term for domestic traffic accidents victims, the desired consensus would finally be achieved. At the same time, the costs occured due to the lack of harmonization would be avoided.