Recourse claim, i.e. the right to claim the reimbursement of paid benefits.


According to the dictionary of the Polish language, the regress is "the right to claim reimbursement of sums paid to another person". Therefore, a recourse claim is the right to claim sums, a claim for the reimbursement of benefits performed for the benefit of other persons. The recourse claim most often concerns insurance contracts.

The right to a recourse claim is granted by Art. 376 §1 of the Civil Code, which reads "If one of the joint debtors has fulfilled the performance, the content of the legal relationship existing between the joint debtors shall decide whether and in what parts he may request reimbursement from the joint debtors. If the content of this relationship does not indicate anything else, the debtor who has fulfilled the benefit may demand reimbursement in equal parts. " So the possibility of pursuing a recourse claim arises only when there is a legal relationship between the parties, e.g. a contract.

Types of recourse claims on the example of insurance contracts

Among the recourse claims in the insurance contract, there are typical and non-standard recourses.

An example of a typical regress can be found in Art. 828 of the Civil Code, which reads "Unless otherwise agreed, the insurer's claim against the third party responsible for the damage shall be transferred by operation of law to the insurer up to the amount of compensation paid on the day of payment of compensation by the insurer. If the undertaking covered only part of the damage, the policyholder shall have priority over the remaining part of the claim over the insurer's claim.”.

The above article indicates that on the day the insurer has paid compensation to the victim, he has the right to claim a refund from the third party who caused the damage. So, following the dictionary definition, a recourse claim is the right to claim sums [compensation], a claim for reimbursement of benefits [by the insurer] for the benefit of other persons [the insured].

The second type of recourse is atypical regression. It occurs when the perpetrator of the damage is not a third party, but an insured person or a party to the contract (vehicle owner). In such a case, the insurer (or the creditor in strictly defined cases (specified in the insurance contract and legal regulations) may seek reimbursement of the paid compensation, payment of a specified sum directly from the other party to the contract. in a state after using alcohol, etc.

Other recourse claims in everyday situations

A recourse claim can occur in many everyday cases. And so, a recourse claim can be found, for example, in:

  • surety agreement - unless the agreement stipulates otherwise, when the surety has performed the benefit for the debtor, he has the right to demand the return of this benefit from him,

  • joint and several liability of debtors - a debtor who has fully performed the performance for the benefit of the creditor has the right to demand reimbursement of the benefit from other debtors in appropriate proportions,

  • the seller's claim to the manufacturer - when the customer returns the goods to the seller due to its non-compliance with the contract, the seller, after returning the buyer the amount for the goods, has the right to apply to the entity responsible for the non-compliance of the goods with the contract, i.e. to the wholesaler, manufacturer, importer, supplier for payment of this amount.

Recourse claim against an employee

An employer who paid a third party compensation for damage caused by an employee has the right to demand (make a recourse) from that employee (the perpetrator of the damage) reimbursement of the amount of compensation. The amount of the claim from the employee that the employer may apply for may not exceed three times the amount of the employee's monthly salary on the day of the damage. Therefore, recourse liability of an employee consists in the employee's liability to the employer for improper performance or non-performance of employees' obligations.

Example 1.

An employee who earns PLN 2,500 a month as part of his official duties was repairing a washing machine at a customer's. As a result of inattention, he broke the tiles, which exposed the client to the damage of PLN 20,000. The employer paid the aggrieved party the amount of PLN 20,000, now he may submit a recourse to the employee, but up to PLN 7,500 (3 X PLN 2,500).

An employer is entitled to a recourse against an employee if the following conditions are cumulatively met:

  • the employee caused damage while performing official duties,

  • the employee's fault was inadvertent,

  • the third party has suffered property damage,

  • the employer paid the victim the appropriate amount.

If the employee's fault was willful, then the employee is obliged to pay the entire compensation directly to the aggrieved party. The employer does not bear the costs in this case and therefore a recourse is not applicable.

When does a recourse claim expire?

As a rule, the provisions of the Civil Code apply to the limitation periods for recourse claims, according to which claims expire after 6 years, and for periodical or business-related benefits - after three years. The period of limitation of a recourse claim is counted from the date on which the service was fulfilled.

The general statute of limitations (from the Civil Code) applies to certain recourse claims. When determining the limitation period for a specific recourse, you should always look at the facts and type of recourse and follow the specific provisions - because depending on these factors, the limitation periods for a recourse claim may be different.

For example, a seller's claim is time-barred after six months. The limitation period begins on the day the seller incurs costs as a result of the consumer's warranty rights, but no later than on the day on which the seller should perform his obligations towards the consumer.