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Compensation for victims of car accidents

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By Chang Se-moon

An SUV suddenly cut off a city bus as it left a stop in Jinju City, South Gyeongsang Province, on Dec. 16, 2019. The bus screeched to a halt, causing a passenger ― a high school girl ― to fly head-first into the metallic fare box inside the vehicle. The girl suffered severe injuries that left her a quadriplegic. The driver of the SUV received a one-year prison sentence.

Near the end of 2020, well over 200,000 people signed a petition posted on the Cheong Wa Dae National Petition Bulletin calling for a tougher sentence for the SUV driver.

The SUV driver may have committed a minor traffic violation in the eyes of existing laws. But the outcome, however, is a very serious civil case referred to as wrongful injury.

If the driver received a 50-year prison sentence rather than the one-year sentence, of what value is this to the victim? This is where a civil case attempts to provide some remuneration. Simply stated, how much should the victim receive from the reckless driver for her irreparable injury? As an economist who has worked on more than 100 such cases, I can answer the question.

Broadly speaking, the compensation should have three components: today's value of lost future earnings; today's value of care expenses; and the value of the loss of........

© The Korea Times

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