The Kaohsiung Branch of the Taiwan High Court rendered the 104-Bao-Xian-Shanng-5 Civil Decision of April 20, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that although the extent of damage caused by an act of tort and the amount of damage are confirmed quite sometime after the occurrence of the act of tort, still the statute of limitation shall commence when the victim first becomes aware of the damage.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellants asserted as follows. When riding a scooter on May 13, 2010, he was rear-ended and injured by the small passenger car at issue (hereinafter, the “Accident at Issue”). The driver causing the accident claimed indemnity based on the compulsory automobile liability insurance and third-party liability insurance obtained from the Appellee. When claiming the indemnity from the Appellee, the Appellant was rejected by the Appellee on the ground that the statute of limitation had expired.
Pursuant to Article 197 of the Civil Code, the awareness of damage means the awareness of the type of damage involved, and it is not necessary to know the amount of damage. If the damage takes place based on one act of tort and the victim may possibly suffer consequential damage connected to the fact of tort according to general rule of thumb in society at the time and professional medical diagnosis, even though a significant period of time has lapsed when the extent and amount of damage are finally determined after the occurrence of the act of tort, the statute of limitation shall still commence when the victim first became aware of the damage.
It was further held in the Decision that since the Appellant had been aware, on the day the Accident at Issue took place, of the damage for which the medical cost for the injury at issue was defrayed, changes to the amount of damage had no bearing on the progression of the statute of limitation. Therefore, the Appellant’s appeal was rejected.