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Traffic Accidents and Compensation in the TRNC

Traffic Accidents and Compensation in the TRNC

A traffic accident is defined as an incident that results in death, injury and both material and non-material damages which are directly or indirectly caused by one or more vehicles traveling on the road. As per the legislation of the TRNC, the legal basis referred to in evaluating the situation related to the traffic accidents is Article 154 Criminal Law and Motor Vehicles Road and Traffic Law No: 21/1974; legal basis referred to in evaluating compensation is Article 148 Law on Wrongful Acts.

Causing a traffic accident may be through an act or omission. The opposing cases that may arise due to the omission of the party that caused the accident are listed as speed under Article 6, reckless driving under Article 7, inattentive driving under Article 8, driving under the influence of alcohol etc. under Article 9 and driving under fatigue under Article 10 of Law on Motor Vehicles Road and Traffic Law no 21/1974. In addition, in case of negligence, the criminal law can be brought against the offense of driving a vehicle and causing the death of a person by the inappropriateness which does not reach the degree of gross negligence contrary to Article 210 of the Chapter. According to Article 210 of the Criminal Code ‘whoever causes the death of another due to imprudence or hasty or inattentive act that does not constitute a gross negligence, he/she will be deemed to have committed a crime and may be sentenced to penalty of up to 5,000,000 TL (Five Million Turkish Lira) or 7 years of prison or both. In the event that the above-mentioned offense is committed by a vehicle driver, the Court may, in addition to the aforementioned penalties, prohibit the vehicle driver from driving for a certain period of time or indefinitely.

The person involved in the investigation or prosecution of such an offense shall be brought before the Court within 5 days at the latest and the person's license may be confiscated by the Court. At the same time as a result of a traffic accident that resulted in death of someone, a case may be filed against the driver who is determined as accused under Article 205 of the Criminal Code regarding the facts of the incident. Any negligence in accordance with this provision is a negligence that would constitute a criminal offense in the performance of a duty of care despite the fact that there is no intent to kill. Any person who commits the crime of manslaughter may face life imprisonment.

The Court of Cassation noted the type of punishment to be given to an accused in cases of fatal traffic accidents and, in the event of appreciation of the prison sentence, the factors to be considered in determining the length of the prison sentence. It expressed that it will take the following into consideration:

The severity and seriousness of crimes, how the accident occurred and its consequences, whether there are more than one person who lost their lives, whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol, the rate of inattentiveness of the accused in the accident and whether the driver was driving very fast, whether he/she tried to pass the vehicle in front in a place where vision was limited, whether he/she blocked the way of the vehicle in the opposite lane. In other words, whether he/she caused the accident due to severe violation of traffic rules or whether the accident occurred due to a momentary inattentiveness, the joining fault of the causing person or the deceased, the criminal record of the accused especially regarding driving and the personal, private, family status of the accused including the traffic history.

As a result of traffic accidents involving the above-mentioned legal factors, the material and non-material damage caused by the guilty or less guilty affected parties must be compensated by the person who caused the accident. This damage is divided into two, as special and general damage. In other words, the special damages are the out of pocket loss until the date of the hearing, the general damages are not spent until the court case, but is the future damage, loss and loss of work and earnings and pain and suffering suffered in the body and mental health of all kinds of temporary and permanent the monetary provision for faults.

As a result of an unfair act that occurs as a result of a traffic accident, the person or persons who can be prosecuted must have contributory faults in the occurrence of the unfair act that causes death. In cases where the deceased as the result of wrongful act is married and provided for the surviving spouse and children, the law maker considers this matter and gives the right to the spouse, children of the deceased and the mother and father of the deceased, should he/she be providing for them, to file a case and claim for compensation. The heirs of the deceased have the right to sue for damage due to premature death and damage to the estate. The term ‘children’ in the Law refers to step children, illegitimate children, adopted children and grandchildren, whereas the term ‘mother and father’ refers step mother and father, grandmother and grandfather.

Upon the accusation by the High Criminal Court located where the traffic accident has taken place, the prosecution will submit the facts to the Court, and the lawyer of the accused will declare the mitigating reasons which should be considered by the Court.

The Court may take all these facts and allegations into consideration and condemn the accused to a certain period of imprisonment or fines or both. The Court, in addition to all the penalties specified above can order the driver's license to be cancelled temporarily or indefinitely.

While the defendant has the right to appeal the Court decision on the length of imprisonment the prosecution can file an appeal on the sentence being inadequate.

Attr. Sabih Benzetsel
  • Attr. Sabih Benzetsel
  • January 2019