Polish bureaucracy “buried him alive” because of a disastrous mistake. Nevertheless, the homeless man lives, retrieved his documents and now claims for compensation. For that, he must fight a legal battle with the State Treasury and the City Council of Warsaw.

Standing next to his own grave

Standing next to his own grave

Andrzej Kępa was “killed” five years ago. It turned out that another homeless man had stolen his identity before dying in one of the hospitals in Warsaw. The doctors didn’t verify the patient’s identity as he needed urgent help at the time. Later, the police also neglected to verify it.

Compensation claim

About the fact that he is formally dead Andrzej Kępa found out at the council accidentally when he was trying to sort out some paperwork. In consequence, Mr Kępa lost his documents, and to retrieve them he was forced to fight in court. He succeeded, but it was not over – now he is fighting for compensation of 600 thousand złoty. As he says – for damages suffered due to losing his identity. In the eyes of the law he didn’t exist for a long time. As a result, being legally employed, receiving health care or renting an apartment was impossible. The defendants are the State Treasury and the City Council in Warsaw. However, these two do not feel guilty.

We have very good arguments to convince the tribunal that claiming for compensation from the municipality is unfounded – says Bartosz Milarczyk from the city council.

Mr Kępa discovered these “very good arguments” when he read the pleadings. One of them points out that “claiming such high compensation is unfounded when being homeless”.

Willingness to help others

Andrzej Kępa experienced living on the streets and that motivates him to help other homeless people. He is planning to give 450 thousand zł of his compensation to institutions helping people who do not have a place to live.

I feel like I was actually dead and it is not really happening – he says.


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