07/10/2022 10:09

In case of fatal accident but no compensation is required in Vietnam

In case of fatal accident but no compensation is required in Vietnam

Currently, the number of traffic accidents is increasing, many traffic violations lead to death. But do all fatal accidents require compensation even if the fault lies entirely with the aggrieved party?

Below is a typical example to answer the above question.

At Judgment 42/2018/DS-ST dated October 9, 2018 of the People's Court of Giong Rieng district, Kien Giang province, the first-instance public hearing of the case about the dispute over the loss of life, specifically:

"The traffic accident happened at 19.20 on September 12, 2016, in T commune, Giong Rieng district between a honda BS 68 T6 - 5119 vehicle driven by Mr. Vo Van C, followed by Vo Van M and Mr. a 7-seater car BS 68A 015.96 driven by driver Mr. Le Quoc T. As a result of the above accident, Mr. C and Mr. M were run over and killed by a 7-seat car.

The cause of the traffic accident has determined that Mr. Vo Van C is the driver of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding the permissible limit of 139.98 mg / 100ml of blood, carrying Mr. He slipped and fell to the left side of the road, causing an accident. Mr. T does not exceed the allowed speed and does not use alcohol when driving.

The co-plaintiffs, the families of Mr. Vo Van M and Vo Van C, filed a lawsuit asking Mr. Le Quoc T and Ms. Danh Thi Thu D as vehicle owners to jointly save the lives of the husbands, fathers and father and son of the co-plaintiffs".

The trial panel shall base itself on the provisions of Clause 1 – Article 9; Clause 1 - Article 604; 606; 621; 623 of the 2005 Civil Code and Resolution No. 03/2006/NQ-HDTP of Vietnam did not accept the claim of life compensation of the plaintiffs.

In this case, the People's Court of Giong Rieng district made the following arguments:

+ For requesting Mr. Le Quoc T to compensate for damage

According to the provisions of Section 1, Part I of Resolution No. 03/2006/NQ-HDTP of the Judicial Council of the Supreme People's Court on guiding the application of provisions of the 2005 Civil Code on non-contractual compensation, has determined that compensation liability arises when the following 4 conditions must be met: damage occurs, illegal acts are committed, there is a causal relationship between the damage occurring and illegal acts, and there must be fault or unintentional fault of the person causing the damage.

Seeing that the damage occurred was real, the consequences caused Mr. C and Mr. M's death, loss and mental loss to the plaintiffs. However, based on the testimonies of witnesses to the incident collected by the Giong Rieng district police investigation agency, the record of traffic accident scene examination, accident scene diagram, record of determining the cause of the road traffic accident identified Mr. Vo Van C, the driver of the car behind Mr. M. Without control of the steering wheel, he slipped and fell to the left side of the road, causing an accident, the incident happened so suddenly that Mr. T, the driver of the car, ran over it, resulting in loss of life of Mr. C and Mr. M.

According to the provisions of Article 11 of  the 1999 Criminal Code (now Article 20 of the 2015 Criminal Code ), then the unexpected event is when the person who performed the act did not foresee or was not forced to foresee the consequences of that act, he is not criminally responsible. And the police investigation agency of Giong Rieng district police made a decision not to prosecute a criminal case, so Mr. T's above behaviour is not considered illegal.

On the other hand, Mr. C is a highly dangerous source of control, but at the conclusion of the forensic examination of the chemical, the blood alcohol concentration exceeds the allowable limit of 139.98 mg/100ml of blood. Mr. T himself strictly abides by the road traffic laws with a driving license, does not exceed the allowed speed, and does not use alcohol when driving. Therefore, Mr. T is not at fault for leading the damage, but the fault is on Mr. C's side.

Therefore, Mr. Le Quoc T is not responsible for claiming compensation.

+ For the claim that Mrs. D is the car owner, she must be jointly responsible for compensation

In Clause 2 - Article 623 of the 2005 Civil Code (now Article 601 of the 2015 Civil Code) and Point b, Section 2, Part III of Resolution No. 03/2006/NQ-HDTP dated July 8, 2006 of the Association The co-judge of the Supreme People's Court provides guidance on non-contractual compensation as follows:

"The owner of the source of extreme danger must make compensation for the damage caused by the source of extreme danger. If the owner has assigned it to another person to possess and use it, these persons must compensate."

"The person assigned by the owner of the source of extreme danger to possess and use the source of extreme danger in accordance with the provisions of the law must claim compensation for the cause of the source of extreme danger...".

In this case, when Ms. Thu D gave T to Mr. T to drive, Mr. T had a driving license and did not use alcohol, so Mrs. Thu D assigned the car to Mr. T to drive it was legal and in accordance with the law. On the other hand, Mr. T is her son, but Mr. T is an adult. In the above accident, Mr. T was determined not to be at fault, Mr. T was not responsible for compensation.

Therefore, Mrs. D is the owner of the vehicle and is not jointly responsible for compensation.

It is very important to determine the risk of injury caused by a source of extreme danger. The most important indication of this responsibility is that the act of the source of extreme danger itself is the direct cause of the damage (e.g. a car is travelling when a tire blows and causes damage, If the car goes downhill, the brake will break, causing an accident ...). If the damage occurs entirely due to fault, due to the behaviour of the operator of the highly dangerous source, then this is just normal damage control (for example, going in the opposite direction causes an accident).

We see that, in this case, a car is only a means involved in causing damage, while the operation of the car itself does not cause damage. Therefore, the Court has determined that this is an ordinary claim, thereby determining 4 conditions for arising compensation liability. 

Once it is a normal claim, the fault factor is very important to determine whether the person is responsible for the claim or not. Because, unlike the liability claim caused by the source of extreme danger, even if the owner or user of the dangerous source is not at fault, it will also incur liability for compensation, while the fault factor in compensation is usually a must-have factor. As in this case, Mr. T is determined to be not at fault, the fault belongs entirely to the victim, and at the same time, he has not violated the law, so Mr. T does not have to pay compensation.

Therefore, when a traffic accident leads to death, the first thing to do is to determine whether this is damage caused by a source of extreme danger or just an accident involving a source of extreme danger. If the damage is caused by a source of extreme danger, the owner or possessor of the source of extreme danger is liable for compensation even if it is not their fault. If it is just an accident involving a source of extreme danger, then this is an ordinary claim. The court will consider whether there are four conditions for arising liability, if these four conditions are met, the person causing the damage must be compensated.


Thu Linh

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