H&P assisted during the last few years several individuals who suffered accidents in Thailand during their holidays. The fact is every year a significant number of tourists suffer accidents in Thailand. Some of them usually happen when the tourists are in speedboats travelling to southern islands, or by car or vans in the hectic Bangkok.
Such accidents can happen due to several reasons such as action or negligence of another person or by motor vehicles or even by animals. As a result, those accidents will doubtlessly bring numerous forms of damages to the person, not only regarding personal injuries but also regarding health, mind, liberty, or property.
In Thailand, these cases can be both criminal case and civil case. In civil case, it is called “Tort” and in criminal case, it can be “Offence against body”. Nevertheless, in this article, we will focus on Tort since there are countless cases arising these days and it is impossible to avoid such accidents. However, the first and foremost step is to understand the law and your rights under the law in order that such case can be further managed properly.
What is Tort in Thai Law?
In Thailand, there are several types of Torts for instance, liability for wrongful acts of any person, liability for employer, liability for animal, liability for defective building or structure or even liability for automobile accidents.
Under section 420 of the commercial code, there are four basic elements of tort as follows:
- negligent or willful
- unlawful act or omission act
- damages directly caused by such unlawful act
What this means is that if the injured parties would like to bring the Tort claim against the tortfeasor, they must reveal all these elements as the burden of proof is given to the plaintiff and if such elements are met, the tortfeasor will be responsible for compensation.
The interesting aspect is that the court further interpreted that emotional distress is one form of damages as the court recognized in the ruling that although it does not appear that such emotional suffering is physical or mental injury, but it is a type of health damage. In this regard, it is possible to sue someone in Thailand for emotional trauma or distress if you can provide evidence to support your claims.
For example, there was a well-known case that the defendant ceaselessly constructed 16 floors hotel close to the residential areas. Doubtlessly, people living in the nearby area were suffering from noise and dust resulting from the substandard construction. Although it can be clearly seen that those damages did not affect to their physical or mental health, however, their emotional health and their right to live peacefully were infringed by those actions.
Apart from this, liability for automobile accidents is another type of Tort always occurring these days.
Under section 437 of the commercial code stipulates that person is responsible for injury caused by any conveyance propelled by mechanism which is in his possession or control unless he proves that the injury results from force majeure or fault of the injured person.
In accordance with this section, it is essential to note that the motor vehicles must be controlled by one party which is the tortfeasor. If both tortfeasor and injured party control the motor vehicles, this section cannot be applied. Nevertheless, they still can apply section 420 for the lawsuit.
For example, if there is damage or accident arising between car and human or boat and human, section 437 can be obviously applied for the lawsuit. On the other hand, if such incident arising between car and car or boat and boat, it is unfeasible to apply this section for the lawsuit.
Is there any time limit to claim or file for lawsuit?
Unquestionably, the lawsuit should be filed as soon as possible, however according to section 448 of the commercial code, the time limit to file with the court is within 1 year after you first aware the injury or damage and the tortfeasor. However, it is barred after 10 years from the date of incident.
What will you get for the compensation?
In Thailand, the court will determine the compensation according to the circumstances and the gravity of the wrongful act. However, the types and amount of compensation are various depending on case by case.
For instance, in case of causing death, the compensation shall include funeral and other necessary expenses, expenses for medical treatment and compensation for the loss of income and benefits etc.
In the case of an injury to the body or health, the compensation shall include expenses for medical treatment, diminished earning capacity for the present and the future, expenses for loss of service of third person and other non-pecuniary loss.
What is non-pecuniary loss?
Non – pecuniary losses are compensatory damages that cannot be clearly quantified in monetary term. The example of these damages are emotional distress, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life etc.
If you need to consult with a lawyer in Thailand about an accident you suffered in Thailand and obtaining compensations, please contact our Bangkok lawyers at [email protected]