The Taiwan High Court on Tuesday reversed a district court ruling and ordered the Yonghe District Office to pay NT$5.98 million (US$192,562) to the family of a woman who was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2014.
The compensation is to go to the husband of the woman, surnamed Kao (高), and their three children, the High Court said.
Kao was riding on Huanhe East Road, Sec 2, beneath the Yungfu Bridge in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on the evening of Oct. 21, 2014, when loose cabling hanging from the bridge snagged the scooter’s handlebars, pulling it into the path of a vehicle traveling in the same direction, a police report said at the time.
She died of her injuries in a hospital the following morning.
Surveillance footage showed that a few minutes prior to the crash, a truck passing beneath the bridge had knocked the cabling loose.
Investigators said that the cabling was an unauthorized installation by a local company, while the Yonghe District Office, which contracts companies to maintain power lines and street lighting, was in charge of the area.
In the first decision, the New Taipei City District Court ruled against the family.
It said that there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship between the installation of the cabling and Kao’s death, as the incident was due to the truck knocking it loose.
Contractors said that the agreement signed with the office meant they were only responsible for safety and maintenance of lines authorized by the local government.
However, the High Court rejected those arguments and ruled that the office and two contractors were liable for Kao’s death, as they were negligent in their duties by failing to inspect the scene and deal with the cabling.
The compensation is to be paid in different shares to Kao’s husband and the children, it said.
Yesterday’s ruling can still be appealed.