Mainland tourists awarded over NT$10 million for 2012 accident
The Chiayi District Court on Monday awarded total damages of NT$10.59 million (US$342,000) to nine mainland tourists who had sustained serious injuries in a bus accident in the city three years ago.
In August 2012, a tour bus crashed into an underpass at the intersection of Boai and Shixian roads in Chiayi City, injuring 20 mainlanders, nine of them seriously.
The nine mainland passengers subsequently filed a lawsuit against the travel agency, the tour bus company, and the Taiwanese driver.
The driver was convicted on charges of criminal negligence that had caused bodily harm and was sentenced to six months in prison, commutable to a fine. It was determined that the bus had crashed because it had entered the underpass at a point that was too low to gain clearance.
Instead of the entering in the fast lane where the underpass had a clearance of 4.6 meters, the driver took the slow lane, smashing the top of the 3.8-meter high vehicle into the underpass.
The court found the charter bus company and the driver liable but cleared the travel agency of any responsibility since the driver was not one of its employees.
Based on the severity of their injuries, the nine mainland tourists were each awarded damages ranging from NT$ 300,000 to NT$4 million. The case, however, can be appealed.