The scope of compulsory motor insurance coverage will be even broader as it will include not only damages caused by the driver of the vehicle, but also the damages caused by its passengers and even if the vehicles were not moving at the time of the accident.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has recently declared that in case a passenger damages a nearby standing car while opening the door of a parked car, it is considered as damages done while using the car, and therefore considered as insurable event under compulsory motor insurance. The fact that neither of the vehicles were moving is not significant. Until now cases like this were considered as not falling under compulsory motor insurance coverage by Lithuanian courts and the Bank of Lithuanian which offers alternative dispute resolution scheme in insurance sector.
The ECJ claims that opening of the door of a vehicle is considered as its usage, as this allows to board and step out of a vehicle, to load and unload goods, etc. In addition to this, the court states that the cover of compulsory motor insurance does not necessarily have to be associated with the liability of only a certain category of persons, i.e. drivers of motor vehicles. This insurance is related to the civil liability arising not only from driving a vehicle, but also from using it in any other way and not only when it is used by the driver of the vehicle, but also by other persons.
This decision broadens the scope of coverage provided by the compulsory motor insurance and at the same time seeks to uniform the meaning of this coverage in the whole European Economic Area thus creating a unified system. The decisions of the ECJ are to be enforced in all member states meaning that Lithuanian courts will have to follow this practice for making their decisions. If it would appear that certain provisions of Lithuanian legal acts contradict this newly established interpretation, they will have to be amended as well.