THE SWEDISH TRAFFIC DAMAGE ACT. A short introduction Warsaw 21 March 2011

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1 THE SWEDISH TRAFFIC DAMAGE ACT A short introduction Warsaw 21 March 2011

2 Some background facts Sweden's first motorist's liability act was introduced in In 1916 the law was made more stringent. It was to be presumed that the motorist had been negligent, unless he was able to prove that this was not the case. In 1929 compulsory MTPL insurance was introduced. In the 1970:s the law was revised.

3 Reasons for changing the rules Two major inadequacies in the system were identified: The driver could not get compensation from the MTPL insurance of his own vehicle, only from that of the other vehicle when there was a collision. Voluntary accident insurance was not considered enough protection. Contributory negligence of an injured person could reduce the compensation.

4 Visions for a new law The vision was to disengage the compulsory MTPL insurance from the law of torts and to transform it into a system of insurance, which would work solely to the benefit of the victim. The Swedish traffic insurance would work as a supplementary social insurance for motor traffic victims. The new Traffic Damage Act came into force 1976.

5 Traffic Damage Act - personal injury All injuries resulting from the use of the vehicle in traffic are covered: the driver, owner, passengers or outside parties, e.g. cyclists or pedestrians. The right to compensation is irrespective of whether or not any party is to blame for the accident (no fault insurance). The victim's compensation is only reduced in the case of intentional act, gross negligence or ordinary negligence in combination with drunk driving.

6 Traffic Damage Act - personal injury The victim is entitled to compensation directly from the insurance company. No need to claim personal liability on the part of the owner or driver. Compensation to the driver and passengers is paid out from the traffic insurance of that vehicle, even if the injury has occurred in a collision with another vehicle (first party compensation). Compensation is determined the same way as if there had been tort liability.

7 Traffic Damage Act - personal injury Social insurance benefits are deducted from the compensation. Traffic damage compensation (like tort damages) is the net amount remaining after these benefits have been deducted. Liability can never include a deductible benefit. Therefore social insurance schemes have no right of recourse for benefits that have been paid out. The result is that the indemnification costs for the insurance companies are considerably reduced.

8 Traffic Damage Act - claims handling The victim contacts his/her own insurance company. Normally the victim only has to prove that the injuries have occurred as a result of a traffic accident. Compensation for loss of income is based on the factual loss. indemnity for non-financial injuries is based on standardized criteria determined by the Road Traffic Injuries Commission.

9 Traffic Damage Act - right of recourse Negligence on behalf of the driver of the other vehicle (or a defective condition in the vehicle) provides a right of recourse against that insurer. This is done as an administrative exercise between the insurance companies, without affecting the victim's personal injury compensation.

10 Traffic Damage Act - property damage The rules Concerning property damage are based on conventional third party liability principles. Damage caused to another vehicle is compensated if the driver has been negligent or if there was a defective in the vehicle. Any contributory negligence can reduce the compensation. Other forms of property damage are compensated on the basis of strict liability (fences, lamp-posts, animals etc.). The damage must have occurred as a result of using the vehicle in traffic.

11 Traffic Damage Act - personal liability There is no bar against claiming tort liability against the motorist. In practice this right is without significance - no need for damages as the traffic insurance provides full compensation. If a motorist has had to pay tort damages, he acquires the victim's right to traffic insurance compensation up to the amount paid out (right of reclaim).

12 Advantages of the Swedish system As compensation for personal injury is based on no fault principle, claims handling is simplified. Claims are usually handled in a customer relation. legal disputes are rare. There is no need to claim damages against the liable motorist.

13 Disadvantages? Compensation costs affected by: no fault protection of the driver, lack of contributory negligence, cost cuts made by the government in the social insurance benefits. They are transferred to the traffic insurance costs.

14 Future changes? The Swedish government has investigated if the MTPL insurance companies should bear the full expenses for loss of income - no social insurance benefits would be granted to traffic victims in that respect. The insurance companies are mainly in favour of such a change. Politically the reform is put on the shelf.

15 Thank you for your attention!

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