Compensation for auto-pedestrian accident


#1

A friend of mine was recently hit by a van as she was crossing the street. She was on a crosswalk, the light to cross was green; since it happened in front of a policeman, there is no doubt that she was not at fault. The driver of the van also stopped and admitted that he was at fault.

My friend is now laid up in the hospital, and looking at six months rehabilitation to be able to walk. Her otherwise well-paying job here pays nothing while she recuperates, apart from National Health Insurance coverage.

Her boss is visiting her in the hospital and helping her to communicate with the police and the driver of the van. We foreigners were expecting that since car insurance is now mandatory, the car insurance should pay provide her with some compensation ( thinking the one-to-one haggling over fender benders and scratches you might see on the roadside is just to avoid raising premiums by reporting minor incidents).

However, according to her boss, and the other Taiwanese involved in this, in Taiwan, auto insurance will only cover immediate medical bills. This raises a question–of what use is auto insurance in this case if it only replicates what is paid by National Health Insurance?

As far as out-of-pocket compensation from the driver, after a little discussion with my friend’s boss, the driver said he would pay for some medical expenses, such as the leg brace and walker, but said he doesn’t have much money because he has two kids in college to support, and offered $NT 20,000. Her boss seems to have the attitude of “this is the way things are. Maybe we’ll negotiate and get $30 or $40.” My friend most definitely does not have any interest in the “sue him for what he’s worth” approach. However, she is losing her salary, and in a worst-case scenario, may even have to give up her job and return to her country; not to mention needing to go through rehab therapy.

My friend doesn’t want any more than enough compensation to cover her living, travel, and medical until she’s recovered. She appreciates the honesty of the driver, and doesn’t want to make life any more difficult for him. It is just that we are dumbfounded at what we are being told about accident compensation in this country. It sounds very primitive, and we could believe that face-to-face, out of pocket compensation is the way compensation is normally taken care of, but find it hard to believe it is the only way to take care of it. Essentially, this would mean that if you are run over by someone who is happens to be unemployed, you get nothing, but might get more if your car is scratched by a rich guy.

I hope someone knows of more options than we have found so far!

Thanks in advance for any info. or similar experiences you can share.

(Sorry if there is a similar topic archived–I couldn’t access the past topics this morning.)


#2

Short note about insurance:

In Northern Ireland where claims such as your friend might make result in huge payouts and making insurance claims is the national pastime, the cost of insurance is almost prohibitive. I was paying GBP570 a year for a car in England, which changed to GBP1670 on my move to Northern Ireland.

How much are insurance premiums in Taiwan ?

Yer man’s insurance may not cover it, but she could still look at restitution with the assistance of a lawyer. Of course, he may not be worth suing, as you have pointed out.

Sorry to hear about you friend. NT$20,000 is derisory. Imagine what the claim would be if the roles were reversed.


#3

Seeing as you are a wealthy expatriate (yah, right) you’d be putting his kids through college, and and and…

Show no mercy, get a lawyer. Even if you decide not to bankrupt him, the threat will help in your negotiations. Probably a single letter from a law firm will do the trick. It’s just a negotiation tool. If he can afford college for two kids, he can afford your medical bills.


#4

Correct. It is primitive. This is, after all, still a developing country, so developed country legal standards with regard to rights and obligations do not apply.

I would agree with the posters that suggested retaining a lawyer, and sending a demand letter as an initial step. Unfortunately, a lawsuit may not be worth the investment. The driver will claim he is destititue and/or all his assets are in his wife’s name, or some other such nonsense.

Good luck.


#5

I agree with the above posters, while your friend may not want to sue, she should get a lawyer.

About 2 years ago, a girl I know was hit while on her scooter. LONG story short, she got -0- zip dooda, diddly, nada. She was uninsured, even for NHI because she had left her job and was heading home… She pressed criminal charges and the guy was found guilty, but even so, the cost of a “civil” suit would have been too high cause the guy that hit her was a 20 year old kid.

This guy, with 2 kids in college, HE HAS MONEY… don’t let him kid you, demand 5-6 times (no I am not kidding) what you will eventually think is a reasonable settlement, because his inital offer is at least that much lower than he is probably willing to pay.

Good luck!

Kristy


#6

Yes.

Yes again.

Your friend should go balls-to-the-wall as Sharky suggested and forget about being nice. She isn’t out to get any more than what she will need to be compensated for her damages. The guy made a mistake and should be responsible for the same. College here isn’t that expensive and I would imagine he could come up with the cash if necessary… Heck, his wife could start a “Hui”. As LCN stated, the cost of a trial may not be worth the effort, but hardball negotiations are definitely called for. The threat of litigation and all its associated hassles may move the guy to settle with a more reasonable figure.

In this situation, if your friend doesn’t fight for herself, nobody else will give a damn.


#7

Another thing. Get your lawyer to depose that cop asap before he ‘changes his mind’ about, or ‘forgets’ what he saw that day. Witnesses here have a tendency to wash out, often as not there’s a cash incentive to do so. I wouldn’t imagine that being a cop will change that, but he’ll be more credible in court if it comes to that, and better have him bound to a statement in your favor.
Line all your ducks up and you’ll settle out of court for a mutually acceptable sum.


#8

Tell your friend this isn’t the time to be the nice, fair Westerner. Get legal advice and go for it. One of his kids might just have to wait a year or two before they can complete college. Do as the locals and play up the injuries. Try to find out where the idiot lives, too, just in case he never makes any progress on payments down the line.


#9

Tell your friend to sue the driver of the van for everything he’s got! Take the van, house, and college tution - that’ll teach him to speed through crosswalks! :imp:


#10

College for 2 kids in Taiwan shouldn’t be that much of a problem. I’m paying US$2,000 per semester tuition in a private university. The kids can live in the dorms if necessary (just a few thousand NT$ per semester) and eat in the cafeteria. My classmates survive on what I would consider to be almost nothing.

Get a lawyer. This is unfortunately not the time to be nice. I think women, in particular, tend to go all soft the minute somebody says something conciliatory or nice. However, the main point is that she cannot walk, she cannot work, and it is not her fault, it’s the fault of this yahoo who hit her with his van. Driving is a responsibility, not a right. Yes, accidents happen, but rarely at intersections with red lights, unless somebody’s really not living up to their responsibility at the moment. People seem to forget that driving here can be literally life and death for somebody.