CY Obtains Justice for Deceased Train Operator’s Family in Wrongful Cause of Death Case

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In October 2008, a Taiwan Railways Administration train operator surnamed Lee died from electric shock due to ground fault while driving a train back to the Qidu Marshalling Yard. However, the Taipei City Labor Inspection Office (TCLIO) determined that Lee’s death was not the result of occupational hazard. The death certificate issued by the prosecution authority stated the cause was cardiogenic shock, and that the death was due to natural causes or illness.

Lee’s family did not accept the stated reason and filed complaints with the relevant government agencies but in vain. Legislators then referred the case to the CY. In its investigation, the CY discovered that although many of those questioned following Lee’s death stated they suspected that electric shock was the reason, the TCLIO did not as required by the law send personnel to the site to conduct occupational hazard inspection and check for possible electricity leakage. Instead, the TCLIO determined soon afterward, based on the autopsy certificate issued by the prosecution authority, that Lee’s death was not the result of occupational hazard, and then handed over its flawed “disaster investigation initial report” to the prosecutors for their reference. As the TCLIO had evidently been negligent in its duties for not properly investigating Lee’s death, the CY proposed corrective actions for the office.

Following the CY’s decision, the TCLIO revised the
occupational hazard report. Lee’s family, taking into consideration the statute of limitations for State Compensation claims and the facts uncovered by the CY’s probe, decided to file a lawsuit. In the ruling, the TRA was ordered to pay Lee’s family NT$3 million (US$100 thousand) in compensation. In addition, Lee’s family received a total of more than NT$7 million in occupational hazard compensation, State Compensation, solatium for civil servants for death or disability while carrying out official duties, and related insurance claim payments.

Through its investigation and four years of follow-up monitoring, the CY was able to assist Lee’s bereaved family members in finally obtaining justice for their painful loss.