Injury in apartment, can I do anything?


So I moved to Taiwan about two months ago to teach English. Upon arriving my company helped me find an apartment near Taipei City Hall, and my roommate and I have lived there for about a month and a half now. Unfortunately, during March I received an electric shock from a light switch in the bathroom of my apartment. The dryer had been running for a while and had made the room very humid. As a result, something allowed the light switch to bridge a connection so when I went to turn on the lights I received a pretty strong shock for about 2 seconds. The electricity did not burn me, but that was probably because of the moisture reducing the resistance of my skin.

Since then I have been experiencing serious symptoms from the shock including muscle shaking and a host of other neurological problems. The landlord came about a week after the incident at my request and changed out the light switch and a plug in the bathroom. According to my roommate, after he removed the switch from the wall and inspected the back of it, he said something along the lines of “oh, broken.” This was in Mandarin of course so I wasn’t aware at the time. He brought an electrician friend of his along to help him with the work.

What do you guys think of this situation? Is there anything I can do legally or should I just hope for the best and pray that my symptoms subside with time? The landlord seems like a nice guy, I doubt that he did anything to intentionally jeopardize my safety, but he may have done the original installations himself…

Whether or not you plan to take legal action, get yourself to a doctor and have him (her) give you a thorough looking over, even though it’s already been two months. If you plan to take legal action – which would be extremely time-intensive, carry no guarantee of justice being served, and could destroy your relationship with your landlord – the proof of injury will be absolutely necessary. Plus, given Taiwan’s fine and cheap medical care, it’s a good idea to get checked up on anyway.

I would personally let it go, but if there are other problems in your apartment you can use this incident as leverage to guilt the landlord into fixing them ASAP and for free. “Remember that one time I got electrically shocked…?”

Thanks, I’ve already been to a number of area hospitals including NTU. This condition is rather rare unfortunately. Most people who suffer an electric shock either experience no long term symptoms at all, or die immediately thereafter. So I might not be able to get a precise diagnosis to be honest.

Shocks like this are a common problem here in my experience. The humidity causes wiring to corrode quickly and also increases the chance of shorts or electrified switches/panels. Since the outlet has already been changed and the faulty one removed, you’re probably out of luck as far as suing your landlord is concerned. Anyways, as mentioned, this would be a stressful waste of time and money in all likelihood, especially since proving injury is from the shock is going to be next to impossible. If your symptoms are related to it, then there may be some minor nerve damage somewhere, but I doubt that can be detected. Hopefully, you just need more recovery time.

This is why they (generally) use 110VAC in Taiwan. It’s close enough to ELV that nonexistent safety standards don’t result in loss of life.

Agree with all the above. I doubt you’ve sustained any permanent damage, and it’s unlikely you’ll get anything from The Law except more stress.

Thanks for the responses.

Hopefully you’re right about just needing more recovery time. Though it’s already been about 50 days since the accident and the symptoms are only getting worse. I have read some things that said it could take about 6 months to recover in any major way, if at all.

I wish I would have known this before coming over ><