Simon Says: What happens if your car crashes into a jaywalker?
This is the twenty-sixth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.
Keywords: Roads and Traffic Law, Strict Liability, Jaywalking, Traffic Accident
What happens if your car crashes into a jaywalker?
Jack was the CEO of Jack Consultancy (Beijing) Limited, giving professional advice on securities and futures investment and trading. At the young age of 28, he already drove a Porsche 911 and had many admirers. As a speculative person, Jack also loved gambling on stocks by buying and selling securities on a day by day basis.
On a Wednesday morning after a trading day followed by a long US statutory holiday, while he was driving to work, checking out his US stocks busily, a teenager Alex with his headphones on and playing games on his phone jaywalked onto the road against the traffic lights. Jack didn’t see him until the last minute and smashed into the boy. Alex wasn’t hurt badly, but his phone was broken and his leg was bruised. Getting off his car, Jack started swearing at Alex for not looking at the road before crossing. Alex, having his phone broken and shocked from the accident, started crying and was in tears. Some passers-by began stopping by to have a look and other started alleging, “a reckless rich Porsche driver killing a poor boy”. The incident ended in a mess. Thanks for Beijing traffic, a police car and an ambulance arrived on the scene only almost an hour later, and Jack was requested by police to accompany Alex to the hospital for a body check.
At the hospital, Alex’s parents arrive in and demanded that Jack pay for the medical bills and an outrageous amount of money for compensation after knowing that Jack drove a Porsche. Jack, of course denied, because he thought that it was Alex’s own fault for jaywalking.
So should Jack need to compensate Alex and how much if any liability?
Prof Simon Says:
Under the Roads and Traffic Law in China, unless caused by an intentional act of the victim, an owner of the vehicle shall be liable for a traffic accident. In this case, even though the driver has not made any fault and it was the recklessness of a jaywalker, he has to compensate one-tenths of the medical bills. Usually, insurance would cover the loss of these kinds of incidents and owner of the vehicle shall cover the difference if there is a gap between the actual loss and covered loss. In general, a driver should make sure he doesn’t crash into anyone, albeit not his fault.
For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at www.acmeardent.com, email@example.com, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi.
"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."
About the Author: Professor Simon Choi
Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +86 13823677853.
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