Had an accident? Going to have one? Look here first

Some things to keep in mind.

  1. Regardless of whether you have a license or not…if the other person is at fault then they have to pay for all damages…etc. You might get a ticket for not having a license. But if your damages are more than the cost of the ticket, then ask for compensation and call the police. (But you should get your license anyway…it’s easy to do and takes a short amount of time)

  2. If the police at your accident say you are at fault and you feel you aren’t. Don’t listen to them. They have NO authority with regards to determining fault. They usually will suggest that one person pays the other. But if you disagree…tell them so…and tell them to take it to court (most people won’t even bother with this).

  3. Taiwanese mandatory insurance pays victims for physical harm suffered during accidents. They DO NOT pay for vehicular damage. So if your scooter is trashed…and your ankle is slighty sore…START LIMPING. And cry if you can. Insurance companies usually pay quickly and easily.
    The person who is deemed “at fault” is expected to pay for the other person’s vehicle’s damage…but if they choose not to pay for whatever reason then you have to go through the long and arduous process of suing.

My roommate had an accident without a license. The man paid for his scooter. And his insurance company compensated him for his cuts and bruises.

I know of another foreigner who was hit from behind while stopped. The guy took off and the police caught him. The foreigner had a few of his FRONT teeth knocked out. And other fairly serious damages. The guy in question fixed his scooter and paid for his hospital bills (not including the false teeth he’ll need…$$$). The foreigner happily accepted thinking he had no rights since he didn’t have a license. He was sorrily wrong.

By comparison I know of a Taiwanese guy who got 1,000,000nt from an insurance company for a fairly deep cut on his arm…which healed up fine.

As always Mordeth a great post full of valuable info
:bravo:

While driving north on Hiway 1 just north of HsinChu on my 125 MS with my wife as a passenger, a young man decided to stop at a sugar cane stand. He had just passed me and I was travelling at about 60 kph. He didn’t look to see if he would be cutting anybody off before he pulled into my lane, which is the shoulder area. He pulled quickly in front of me and hammerred the brakes. I was able to swerve slightly to the right and hit his right side of the bumber and fender. The collision propelled me off the bike and I hit face down on the shoulder of the road. Resulting damage was a broken nose, lacerations above my right eye and a face that suddenly looked like a ruptured watermelon. (It wasn’t much to look at before but I could tell that this was not going to be a defining improvement. I was out until just before the ambulance arrived. My wife hurt her back and leg but no lacerations. A female passerby was kind enough to stop and take a bunch of pictures which I ultimately got during the investigation. The accident occurred on August 1, 2004. I spent about a week in the hospital and a couple more days recovering at home before going back to work. At the hospital, the driver showed up with two red envelopes. He handed one to me and one to my wife. I could tell by the feel that it was a very small offerring. I learned later that it was 2,000 NT each. My wife politely thanked him and returned the envelopes. We knew that you have 6 months to reach a negotiated settlement so on the first trip back to the area from Taipei, we filled out all the accident reports and the officer, as noted in the first post here, tried to assign blame to the car driver. He argued with the police but we ended up having the first, but impromptu settlement conference. I offerred to settle for a million, which I new was WAY too high for here and he offerred zero becuase he didnt have any money, he lived with but supported his dying disabled uncle, he had sold his car to live. The police explained that I must negotiate so I reduced to 900k, thinking he would increase by some amount. Nope. Again an offer of zero. Now I am being asked to again negotiate. This ended the first conference.
We were called by the police to meet at the police station for a negotiation conference. This was about Christmas. We went to the local station but I had a rep from FAP in Jubei meet us there. After waiting for more than 2 hours for the police officer to arrive, the FAP guy left and the police got there a few minutes later. We went through another farce of negotiations and made no further headway although later the driver claimed to have offerred 40,000 each. Maybe I misunderstood but those numbers were never relayed to me. A week before the 6 month deadline, I made another appointment for negotiations. The police set the date for the evening of the deadline. I had learned that if we could not settle, the police, upon a request from either party, must transfer the case to the local court. Negotiations failed to make any headway and we asked to transfer the case. The ploice officer put together all the documents, we thumprinted the borders and left. We were denied a copy of the officer’s report but were given a sketch of the scene.
Now, it’s February and after waiting a couple weeks, I call the police to see why I have not heard anything. I was told that “these things take time” and that I should wait to hear from the court. Now I go into monthly phone call mode. In about September of 2005 I learned that the case had not left the police. It was still on the officer’s desk. I confronted him about it and was told he would send it immediately. This went on for three more weeks. It was only after I called FAP again that they were able to pressure the police into actually sending the documents to the court.
We finally got our first summons to appear in the HsinChu court. The FAP again were great. A rep met us at the court and helped with translation. My wife is Taiwanese so she understands but is hesitant about translating for me. She tries but is very disturbed because she’s afraid she will make a mistake. We all made statements on the record. The negotiations were also explained. In the driver’s statement he announced that he has offerred 200,000 each plus the insurance for medicals but that we had refused. The judge ultimately sent the case to an accident reconstruction company and we each paid an additional 1,500 NT for the service. At this point, I am out of pocket about 150,000 and my wife is out about 50,000. But now I am pissed so anothr 1500 goes down the toilet. We finally receive a summons to appear before the reconstruction board. The FAP guy couldn’t make it so I was a bit unsure about the language barrier but accepted my fate, determined to do the best I could. The board turned out to be a group of highly educated and English speaking professors. Nice change. They made short work of the nonsense and pronounced the other driver 100% at fault. They explained that I would hear from the court in about a week. Well, I heard from the court last week. They have ordered the other driver to spend 6 months in jail or buy himself out at the rate of 500 NT per day. (Total of 90,000 NT) The hearing date is yet to come and I have not heard from the defendant. We have the option of appealing the decision, as does the defendant.

EDIT: My wife’s family attorney agreed to file the suit for us. We met yesterday and made the copies of receipts, gluing all to A4 paper. He had the complaint drafted and we signed. I did not mention before that the 90,000 NT fine by the court is exactly that - a fine and retained by the government. I simply do not feel that anyone with financial means to pay a judgment obtained in the suit would spend sx months sitting out the fine. To keep family harmony, it seems am destined to spend several more days over the next few months travelling to HsinChu and sitting in court rooms. Bottom line - I will be greatly surprised if this guy ever pays a dime and the damn thing is occupying too much of my time and energy. Never-the-less, I must see it through to ever have any peace at home. Such is life.

From talking with others about their experiences with indigent drivers, I think you can expect about the same course of events. The bottom line is - BE CAREFUL. You can get through the mess but there was at least a few people that did not think I would be in Taiwan long enough to see this through. I will be. You may not be. It is now going on 18 months!

Edit: I want to thank Mordeth for the observations posted subsequent to my original post. perhaps in hindsight it would have been better to file the suit immediately but we were hopeful that with a determination of fault by the reconstruction board and some jail time looming that some family member of the defendant might step foreward to lend him some financial assistance. Even if we had filed early, there would still have been the issue of fault and proof to offer in the court. Again, just be careful.

Edit February 24, 2006

We received the most recent summons last week. Rather I should say that my wife received one but I did not. No one can tell me why I don’t get the documents from the court. In any event we both went for our scheduled appearance at the Summary Court in Jubei. The court was, as expected running an hour or so late. No problem. I understand how that goes. What was surprising was that the investigating officer had also been summoned. This time we had a no nonsense judge who immediately strated questioning the police officer about any familial relationship with the defendant. He answered that he did not but she was clearly perturbed that he had taken a year to transfer the case to the court after our request that he do so. I had always wondered why the first officer to arrive was not the investigating officer. I know that sometimes happens with an inexperieinced traffic investigator but now, combined with the officer’s recalcitrance, delays, etc and his taking the case over from another officer, I rather wonder about who is related to the defendant. The officer was rather sheepish under questioning. I was again asked the course of events and replied in English with my wife translating. The court adjorned with the judge telling us that we should go into the hallway and settle the matter. Since we had already filed the civil suit we contacted the family lawyer who suggested that we demand our bottom dollar and stick to it and to settle with the insurance company for “out of pocket” or special damages. We made our demand and stuck to it. We again heard the diatribe about his dying disabled uncle/grandfater (the story changes depending on the day of the week). We held our guns and left the court with a promise that he would consult his family and let us know no later than the following Tuesday. We’ll see.

Edit: March 2, 2006

Still no word from the defendant. My wife received a notice from the defendant to appear again in HsinChu on the 15th of March for a mediation hearing. The family lawyer has told us to disregard the notice as it is optional and will do nothing except cause us another trip south. He has also done a 3,000 NT survey for assets and found only salary and a car of little value. He has now informed the defendant that any further mediation will occur in his office and at his convenience. I think the wife is starting to smell the roses. She reminds me of a pit bull with a meatless bone locked tightly in the jaws. No meat but she isn’t letting go. I wouldn’t want her pissed off at me.

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Did he have insurance? If not, the fine for that alone is tens of thousands of dollars. And if so…they should have paid you without fuss.

He had insurance and we met with them during the second negotiation session. We gave him copies of all the receipts and he had no problem paying the medicals. We were told not to settle with the insurance until an agreement was reached with the defendant. We still haven’t gotten the insurance money but it looks like they will only pay a total of about 80,000. Many of the items lost or damaged were my motorcycle, clothing, raingear, etc, that apparantly arn’t covered by the insurance because of non-covered item or no receipt (clothes and rain gear). Sometimes sh** just happens.

Well, I think it’s important to note that there are a couple of things you could have done to speed up the process.

  • The police are required by law to give you all the photo’s from the scene of the accident as well as some other reports. (When I asked them for the pictures they refused. I went to the DMV and they gave me a copy of something to show them saying they had to give me…it worked.)

  • You can press charges yourself and easily enough. No need to wait for the police to do it for you. (I was told by the police that if the guy didn’t settle they would escalate the case to the courts…but why trust a pig? Do it yourself…takes an hour at most at the court house…and if the case is less than 100,000nt there are no lawyers involved)

  • With regards to my own accident it only took about 4 months to get a court summons.

Err, that’s all I can think of right now.

Do insurance companies pay for general pain and suffering in an accident? In Canada you will get a few thousand for any accident just because the whole things is consider traumatic. I had a fairly bad accident last month. Whiplash for sure and according to the x-rays my neck is out of place quite a lot. I am seeing Dr Mark the chiropractor for my neck but because chiros aren’t registered in taiwan I can’t ask for compensation from the insurance company. They would just tell me to see a Taiwanese physiotherapist. Well, no thank you.

I realize I can’t force them to pay for a doctor I choose to see but I am more than a little pissed to be paying to fix my injuries. Also, I have to see the doctor 3/4 times a week and do an hour of stretches and exercises a night. This, in addition to having no car at the time, is really cutting into my lifestyle.

I have no intention of soaking the insurance company. But I would like a small amount to cover my medical bills and to compensate for the whole shitty experience and hassles.

Yes, they pay it here bigtime. Like I said in my original post…my buddy’s arm got cut…he got a million NT. It sure as hell didn’t cost a mil for stitches.

Yes, they pay it here bigtime. Like I said in my original post…my buddy’s arm got cut…he got a million NT. It sure as hell didn’t cost a mil for stitches.[/quote]

Okay, I am going to call you on this because it just does not seem even remotely possible based on my conversations with two managers at a local insurance company. One of the managers is one of my best friends in Taiwan (so a pretty credible source) and the other his colleage who handles car insurance claims. BTW, neither is involved with my case.

From the mouth of the manger, Taiwanese insurance tradition considers damage to the car more important than personal injuries. It is difficult to get much out of them as a result. One way however to beef up your claim is to get a doctor’s statement sayng that you will need to rest for one or two months. This of course is almost always not true but it is the game as it is played here. The insurance company will usually give you the two months salary based on the doctor’s assessment assuming your injuries are significant and verfiable.

Each company has a certain amount of discretion to hand out money for general pain and suffering and inconvenience but it is not that much. A million? No way. The manager said he just dealt with a case where a guy got 80,000 for a broken arm. And that is typical.

Given how backward Taiwan is in civil law, cusumers rights and customer service why would insurance companies be so generous and progressive? Makes no sense. The insurance company I am dealing with has not even called me once. We have to keep calling them. I highly doubt this rudeness is going to flower into a big settlement in the future.

Conclusion: don’t expect that much if you are injured.

Well, my friend told me he got a million from an insurance company…and I believe him…but there are some details that I left out. So it’s possible that that’s far from the “norm”.

But 80,000 for a broken arm. That’s 4,000 Canadian, roughly 4 months worth of wages for some people here. But maybe if you were a foreigner making 50,000nt a month you could expect 200,000nt for that same broken arm…it’s possible.

Thank you Mucha Man. I know that Mordeth wishes the best and is trying to help but getting a mil for a “cut arm” is, in my opinion, an amputation from what I have experienced. Now, I know there are exceptions but what I have been through seems much more the norm unless there is a corporate insured defendant in the works. Certainly, my def. isn’t the corporate insured and is simply trying to stay out of jail and avoid a judgment. The court here seems to have trouble even getting letters to both my wife at her family address and me at our home address. Yesterday, her brother calls and say that he has a letter from the court that the defendant will go into the military and that there is an expeditied court hearing in HsinChu on the 24th. GREAT. Actually, I dont give a damn if he goes into the military, Just pay us and go. Will it work that way? Very doubtful. I now wish the hell wish I had cut my arm. (Sorry Mordeth for the quip.)

Good luck. I really hope my case doesn’t drag out so long.

Well the million dollar arm aside.

My roommate got into an accident and the guy’s insurance guy showed up and sat down with us. He then gave us whatever we asked for, which leads me to believe we asked for too little. We told him how much work my roommate had missed, clothes that were ruined in the fall, medical bills…the guy was just punching it into his calculator with a smile on his face and saying “ok”. Finally I think we’re asking for too little since the guy is being so agreeable…so I say to him “What about pain and suffering?” and he responds with “Sure, how about I add on a 5,000?”…easy as that. We got the check a week later.

In hindsight it was obvious we could have gotten more for the pain and suffering part (or somewhere else)…since the guy coughed up cash for everything else WITHOUT checking into any of it. It really gave me the impression we coulda got a lot more than his viewable losses.

[quote=“Mordeth”]Some things to keep in mind.

  1. Regardless of whether you have a license or not…if the other person is at fault then they have to pay for all damages…etc. You might get a ticket for not having a license. But if your damages are more than the cost of the ticket, then ask for compensation and call the police. (But you should get your license anyway…it’s easy to do and takes a short amount of time)

  2. If the police at your accident say you are at fault and you feel you aren’t. Don’t listen to them. They have NO authority with regards to determining fault. They usually will suggest that one person pays the other. But if you disagree…tell them so…and tell them to take it to court (most people won’t even bother with this).

  3. Taiwanese mandatory insurance pays victims for physical harm suffered during accidents. They DO NOT pay for vehicular damage. So if your scooter is trashed…and your ankle is slighty sore…START LIMPING. And cry if you can. Insurance companies usually pay quickly and easily.
    The person who is deemed “at fault” is expected to pay for the other person’s vehicle’s damage…but if they choose not to pay for whatever reason then you have to go through the long and arduous process of suing.

My roommate had an accident without a license. The man paid for his scooter. And his insurance company compensated him for his cuts and bruises.

I know of another foreigner who was hit from behind while stopped. The guy took off and the police caught him. The foreigner had a few of his FRONT teeth knocked out. And other fairly serious damages. The guy in question fixed his scooter and paid for his hospital bills (not including the false teeth he’ll need…$$$). The foreigner happily accepted thinking he had no rights since he didn’t have a license. He was sorrily wrong.

By comparison I know of a Taiwanese guy who got 1,000,000nt from an insurance company for a fairly deep cut on his arm…which healed up fine.[/quote]

do those apply to cars as well?

Well 1 & 2 apply to cars for sure. With regards to insurance…there are more types of insurance that you can get with cars…so there’s a better chance of their insurance company being able to pay for damages as well as physical harm.

I was just in an accident.
Sideswiped, luckily I didn’t fall over. My bike has minor scratches, but I whacked my elbow pretty good on the guys car. Aching…
Didn’t call the cops or anything, and I know now that was a big mistake.
The guy has agreed to pay $1000 for the bikes damages.
Is there anything I can do to get my physical harm paid for? Or is it too late?

[quote=“TaiwanPsycho”]I was just in an accident.
Sideswiped, luckily I didn’t fall over. My bike has minor scratches, but I whacked my elbow pretty good on the guys car. Aching…
Didn’t call the cops or anything, and I know now that was a big mistake.
The guy has agreed to pay $1000 for the bikes damages.
Is there anything I can do to get my physical harm paid for? Or is it too late?[/quote]

Good question. My first instinct is that it’s too late. But if he’s agreeing to pay something…then that’s like admiting fault. But maybe you’d need a witness when you go to get the 1000…not sure.

Maybe make a post in the legal section. Probably too late…since to threaten to sue you’d need a police report of the accident area. But don’t feel bad I’ve been in about 4 small accidents where I’m sore for days…and I don’t bother suing either.

Feeling much better this morning. I won’t bother taking it any further. Just as long as he coughs up the $1000!
Still feel bad for my poor bike. It’s still new and look what happens!

Next time, if it’s more serious, is there an English speaking police number I can call? Or do I just call 110?

[quote=“TaiwanPsycho”]I was just in an accident.
Sideswiped, luckily I didn’t fall over. My bike has minor scratches, but I whacked my elbow pretty good on the guys car. Aching…
Didn’t call the cops or anything, and I know now that was a big mistake.
The guy has agreed to pay $1000 for the bikes damages.
Is there anything I can do to get my physical harm paid for? Or is it too late?[/quote]
The basic rule in Taiwan is that big vehicle(car) and small vehicle(motorbike/scooter) accident, the big vehicle’s fault. that is why the guy gave you money as admitting the fault. you can do something right after the accident.

[quote=“jcweez”]
The basic rule in Taiwan is that big vehicle(car) and small vehicle(motorbike/scooter) accident, the big vehicle’s fault. that is why the guy gave you money as admitting the fault. you can do something right after the accident.[/quote]

Sorry friend, hate to disagree…but that kind of thinking has changed recently. It’s still like that in China. And it used to be like that here. But the traffic rules here are about the same as America’s (for the most part).

Maybe some redneck cop might still have old school thinking, but if it went to court the result would most likely be the same as in the west.

So fault is fault regardless of type of vehicle.