Driver struck by another vehicle in the wrong lane ordered to pay Y40 million

By Meg Murphy, RocketNews24

Three years ago, a tragic accident occurred in Fukui Prefecture, in which a sleepy driver drifted into the opposite lane, causing a fatal accident. The case went to court, and the court’s decision was announced on April 20. Many were shocked to hear the results: that the judge placed fault on the driver of the car that was struck, ordering them to pay 40 million yen in damages.

In April 2012, a man (the owner of the car, whom we’ll call Mr A) and two friends were out driving on Highway 8 in Fukui Prefecture. Mr A was sitting in the passenger seat, allowing his friend to drive. The driver started nodding off at the wheel, drifted into the wrong lane, and, striking an oncoming car, resulting in Mr A’s death. His bereaved family took the driver of the other car (who we’ll call B) to court for damages, claiming B held responsibility as well.

Under the Japanese Automobile Accident Compensation Act, if a driver is unable to prove they are without fault, they become responsible for damages. The judge ruled that, since there was nothing to prove that B was at fault or not, under the AACA, B would have to pay compensation.

According to the bereaved family’s lawyer, in similar cases this is the first time that the other vehicle has been held responsible.

The insurance on A’s car didn’t cover drivers outside of his immediate family. Since it was his friend driving, the family did not receive any restitution.

The sentence admits that, without being able to determine when the car drifted into the other lane they were unable to determine any fault. However, it states that if, for example, driver B had been paying attention and noticed the other car in time, B could have honked their horn or similar, and therefore could not be completely cleared of any blame.

Source: Fukui Shimbun

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Truck driver hailed as “hero” for cutting off car on wet highway -- Kind-hearted yet cautious driver takes photo of fallen motorist before helping her up -- Driver charged after man who refused treatment is found dead a month after road traffic accident

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"You hit me, and I have to pay you?" Get ready for a lot of scams.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is so totally unfair! This is one of the times a dash cam would come in handy!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

first the kids playing soccer, thank god a judge with some common sense handled that case. perhaps he can give the judge of this case some pointers.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In the words of John Lydon... 'Ridicularse!'

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I just bought a car. My next purchase will be car cameras on every side. No friggin common sense.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So then if someone punches the judge in the face and breaks a bone in his hand, then the puncher can sue the judge for damages since the judge didn't notice the fist coming at him, failed to honk, and failed to swerve out of the way. OK. Got it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ok I can understand his rules but he is total wrong. Mr B could be paralysed by fear which is common trait in most humans particular in women. Some people react differently in dangerous position. That why they troops are trained in warfare so they can respond quickly under confrontation. The judge should have taken in human diffirentes to certain types of people. Yes Mr B would be in the wrong if he had undergone such train during his or her life. This Judge will have his judgement upheld in a higher count of law. All he has achieved is prolong MR B family argony.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Kangaroo court. European papers, perhaps even American, will have a field day with this sentence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow. I've read some strange rulings but this certainly is near the top.

Hopefully, this ridiculous sentence will be overturned SOON. It would be a shame if Driver B had to spend years of his life trying to recoup the cost of this nonsense much like the soccer ball kid's family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Completely insane. What was the judge thinking?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So the family of Mr. B, who was hit by the driver who nodded off and charged by this judge, can go and attack the judge and then charge him for the attack because he failed to prevent them attacking him due to his judgement? If I were them I would do it for sure! Would be worth it to see the look on his bandaged face when the stupidity of the law was thrown back in it.

Japan has some of the stupidest laws in the world when it comes to liability.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I was in moving traffic, right of way, a car came from a side road into the moving traffic and hit my left rear. After MUCH time and MUCH wangling I got it to 90% their fault, 10% mine, BUT that 10% REALLY did my head in. Nicely, Mr repair shop man over charged someone else and so gave me a smile and a 'don't worry'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"What was the judge thinking", my question is " What was he smoking" ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't believe this!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the judge placed fault on the driver of the car that was struck, ordering them to pay 40 million yen in damages.

Eh, what? Your car was struck and you have to pay 40 million yen in damages? It's literally like you have to take a one-two punch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese legal system must be the most unjust in the developed world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Stewart....why do you say unjust? It is the Japanese way. If his car was not there it would not have been hit. And since the driver was not covered, perhaps the covered driver would have avoided it. Guilty according to Japanese thinking.

But I think it is really really really stupid and the judge should be pushed over a cliff.. Then his family would make Japan pay as they own the cliff...and if the cliff was not there, he would not have died.

2 ( +1 / -0 )

JapanGal, you've answered your own question with the cliff anecdote. Here's another one, if an armed robber fires his gun during a bank robbery and I get hit by the bullet, it's my fault for being there and furthermore I should pay for the bullet. I wasn't only referring to this kind of case, by the way. How about the recent one where the a 19 year old (who was 17 at the time) male sexually assaulted and murdered a 15 year old girl in Mie and received only 5 years in jail because he is crazily by law still considered a minor? That's as unjust as it comes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Although it is how things are here in Japan, it's really really unrealistic to expect a lane, designed for cars to drive in, be empty/free of all traffic at any given time. The point of a road is for cars to utilize them- it's about as logical as retorting "Well if the city hadn't built a road there, my car wouldn't have been on it!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In this case, if i will hit another car, they will pay me such money?!! Well, it is a great nice business(shame on the verdict)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Insane..what the heck is wrong with the judge?

Actually, "What the heck is wrong with this law that the judge had to rule by?!"

Under the Japanese Automobile Accident Compensation Act, if a driver is unable to prove they are without fault, they become responsible for damages.

So if you can't prove you DIDN'T do something wrong, you're liable for damages?! To put it another way, "Marcelito, I say you drove under the influence of alcohol yesterday. Prove that it didn't happen." How do you prove you weren't drunk? A blood test today would be meaningless in regards to your BAC yesterday. The only way you could prove you didn't drive drunk would be if you didn't have access to a car yesterday.

Having to prove something DIDN'T happen is a sneaky way for courts to collect court costs from innocent citizens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Under the Japanese Automobile Accident Compensation Act, if a driver is unable to prove they are without fault, they become responsible for damages." Guilty until proven innocent, that's the way Japan's justice system works. That's also the reason why the best advise for men falsely accused of groping is to run away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Car makers are having a hard enough time trying to get people to buy cars and drive them, then we have this to deal with...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Judge will be probably one of the worst Judges in the world. Where is the fairness to the driver who was driving on his lane and hitting by the car which was driving on wrong side? It’s totally ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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