Persons who have been infected with COVID – 19 in medical institution or who have died – then their relatives can get the compensation without going to court.

On 2020 January 1 after the entry into force of the amendments to the Law on Patients’ Rights and Compensation for Damage to Health of the Republic of Lithuania, the damage compensation process has become much simpler: the ones who suffered damage, must apply to the Patient Health Injury Commission (the Commission), which operates under the Ministry of Health, with a written request for compensation.

Pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused by the illness can be compensated. The amount of the damage is indicated by the person claiming it, but the amount of pecuniary damage must be based on real costs: the costs incurred by the person for his / her healthcare, medicines and medical supplies, other than those provided by the patient costs supported by relevant documents (prescriptions for medicines, medical devices, purchase receipts, etc.).

The amount of compensable pecuniary damage also includes the income that the person has not received due to the illness, the income that the person would have received if he or she had not fallen ill. The nature and severity of the injuries suffered by the patient, the duration of the illness and the temporary incapacity for work, the degree of invalidity or incapacity for work determined must be taken into account when determining the extent of the injury.

The nature and extent of the physical suffering (including pain) suffered, the nature and severity of the emotional experiences and mental and behavioral disorders, if any, caused by the injury, the nature and extent of the injury affecting the patient’s normal life (loss of communication, normal activities, etc.), the patient’s state of health before the occurrence of the injury (illnesses, habits that may have influenced the onset and severity of the illness) must be taken into account when the amount of non-pecuniary damage is determined.

In the event of death, the amount of non-pecuniary damage must be determined by the degree and nature of the relationship between the other person entitled to compensation and the patient, life expectancy if the persons lived together, whether the deceased had materially supported the applicant, the nature and severity of the emotional experiences and mental and behavioral disorders, if any, caused by the patient’s death.

A person applying for compensation for damage to health must indicate the circumstances and facts substantiating his or her application by filling in a special form approved by an order of the Minister of Health. Compensation shall be provided if the Commission finds that the provision of personal healthcare has caused damage to the patient’s health and that this is not imminent. Thus, a person seeking compensation does not have to prove the guilt of the doctors.

Applications must be examined by the Commission and a decision taken no later than 2 months after receipt of the application. Patients will be reimbursed by the State Health Insurance Fund within 30 days of the Commission’s decision. If the applicant is not satisfied with the amount of damages set by the Commission, he will have the opportunity to apply to a court, which will examine the circumstances of the damage and make a decision.