No.2 of Four Model Cases Published by the Supreme People's Court: Wu Jundong and Wu Xiuzhi v. Hu Qiming and Dai Congqiu (case of dispute over compensation for personal injury in a traffic accident)
Procedural Status： Trial at Second Instance
- Date Issued：07-24-2014
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- [Key Terms] standard of proof of high degree of probability; weight of proof; determination of traffic accident liability
- [核心术语] 高度盖然性的证明标准;证明力;交通事故责任认定
- [Disputed Issues] Where the traffic administrative department fails to determine the causes and liability in respect of a traffic accident, could the court determine the traffic accident liability by the standard of proof of high degree of probability?
- [争议焦点] 交通管理部门对交通事故成因及责任无法认定的情况下，法院能否依据高度盖然性的证明标准确定事故责任？
- [Case Summary] The standard of proof of high degree of probability applies the recognition means of preponderance of probability to civil trial in the judicial area, under which, if the evidence is not sufficient and reliable enough to prove the facts to be proved, and if the evidence produced by one party has proved that the facts are of a high degree of probability, the Supreme People's Court may ascertain the facts. Generally, the letter of responsibility for traffic accident issued by the traffic administrative department is the main basis for determining the liability for a traffic accident. However, if the traffic administrative department fails to determine the causes and liability in respect of a traffic accident, other evidence of high weight of proof may be considered in a comprehensive manner to improve trial efficiency, and if the facts proved by such other evidence are of a high degree of probability, the people's court may come to conclusion based thereon. Therefore, the court may determine the liability for a traffic accident in accordance with the standard of proof of high degree of probability when the traffic administrative department fails to determine the causes and liability in respect of the traffic accident.
- [案例要旨] 高度盖然性的证明标准，是将盖然性占优势的认识手段运用于司法领域的民事审判中，在证据对待证事实的证明无法达到确实充分的情况下，如果一方当事人提出的证据已经证明该事实发生具有高度的盖然性，人民法院即可对该事实予以确定。通常情况下，交通管理部门做出的交通事故责任认定书是确定交通事故责任的主要依据，但如果交通管理部门对交通事故成因及责任无法认定，从提高审判效率的目的出发，可以综合考虑其他证明力较高的证据，如果其他证据所证明的事实发生具有高度的盖然性，人民法院也可以借此得出结论。因此，交通管理部门对交通事故成因及责任无法认定的情况下，法院可以依据高度盖然性的证明标准确定事故责任。
- No.2 of Four Model Cases Published by the Supreme People's Court: Wu Jundong and Wu Xiuzhi v. Hu Qiming and Dai Congqiu (Case of Dispute over Personal Injury Compensation in a Traffic Accident)
- I. Basic Facts
- On November 23, 2010, a traffic accident occurred when Wu Jundong overtook an electric bicycle without a plate driven by Hu Qiming (carrying his wife Dai Congqiu thereon) on the mixed driveway for motor vehicles and non-motor vehicles in the full width of six meters by driving a right three-wheeled motorcycle (Lu DK0103) owned by Wu Xiuzhi. The electric bicycle got out of control and turned to its side, which caused injuries of both Hu Qiming and Dai Congqiu. Afterwards, Wu Jundong sent them to hospital for treatment. Both parties sticked to each other's arguments on whether Wu Jundong drove with caution and whether the motor vehicle driven by him was scraped and collided with the electric bicycle driven by Hu Qiming. The traffic administration failed to determine the accident causes and liabilities. In the process of overtaking, the vehicle driven by Hu Qiming was driving on the right side of the road, about half a meter away from the right roadside, the vehicle driven by Wu Jundong was driving about one meter away from the right roadside, and the horizontal distance between the two vehicles was about 40 to 50 cm. The motorcycle driven by Wu Jundong was in the fifth gear when it overtook the electric bicycle. There was a black car fast coming head-on and Wu Jundong said he felt a little dangerous. The road on the scene was flat and besides the black car, there was no other vehicle when the accident occurred. Both vehicles involved in the accident conformed to the technical standards for safety; and Wu Xiuzhi did not purchase the compulsory traffic accident liability insurance for the vehicle.
- II. Judgment
- After the second-instance hearing, the Intermediate People's Court of Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province held that: When Wu Jundong overtook the electric bicycle driven by Hu Qiming by driving the three-wheeled motorcycle, the speed of the motorcycle was fast; considering that Wu Jundong failed to notice the fast-coming black car from the opposite direction in the overtaking, it might be determined that he failed to perform the obligation of driving with caution. The accident liability certification issued by the traffic administration failed to prove whether the two vehicles were collided or scraped with each other. It could be seen from the testimonies of witnesses that the electric bicycle driven by Hu Qiming swayed and turned to its side when the motorcycle driven by Wu Jundong overtook it. In light of other circumstances on the accident scene and according to the judicial principle of high probability in the Civil Procedure Law, the trial court held that there was causation between the turnover of Hu Qiming's electric bicycle and the negligence of Wu Jundong when the three-wheeled motorcycle driven by him overtook the electric bicycle, and Wu Jundong should assume primary liabilities for the accident; Hu Qiming also had a fault in carrying an adult on an electric bicycle in violation of the Road Traffic Safety Law, and both parities should assume the compensation liabilities for personal injuries of Hu Qiming and other person, including medical expenses, disability compensation, and charges for loss of working hours, in the proportions of 30% and 70%.
- III. Significance
- Legal facts were different from objective facts and the standard of proof in civil litigations was also different from that in criminal litigations. Civil litigations in China adopted the standard of high probability. The significance of this case lay in that, according to the standard of proof of high probability and in light of the circumstances where Wu Jundong failed to notice the coming vehicle when his vehicle overtook another vehicle, the overtaking speed was fast (in the fifth speed gear), and the horizontal distance between the vehicle of Wu Jundong and that of Hu Qiming was short (only about 40 to 50 cm), the court determined that there was causation between the sway and turnover of the electric motorcycle driven by Hu Qiming in the overtaking and the overtaking of Wu Jundong. In this case, the scope of duty of care of drivers in overtaking was rationally defined and it was of guiding significance in terms of the standard of proof and fact determination.