What happens if I kill/injure someone in a car accident in Japan?
It’s not pleasant to think about, but the reality is that car accidents can and do happen. If you are going to be driving on the roads of Japan, then it’s advisable that you know the consequences for traffic accidents, especially when an accident results in injuries to/death of the other party. You don’t want to be left in the dark when it comes to this type of scenario, so educate yourself now — you’ll be glad you did. Read below to find out what happens in the unfortunate case that you kill or injure someone in a car accident.
If you have an accident …
Before discussing the consequences of a car accident, it’s important to understand what you should do first when an accident occurs. The first thing you should do after causing a car accident is call 119 if someone is hurt to request treatment and an ambulance. Injured persons are always the first priority at the scene of an accident. If it’s possible to still drive your vehicle, you should move it out of the way of traffic to the side of the road and use a road caution sign to alert other drivers on the road.
Next, notify the police by calling 110 — if you cannot speak Japanese, then have someone who speaks Japanese contact the police for you. You must always notify the police in the case of an accident regardless of the accident’s severity. Lastly, you should contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident. Some insurance companies require you to notify of an accident within a set period of time, so you should contact them as soon as possible to be safe.
Consequences of causing harm to the other party
According to Article 5 of the Act on Punishment of Acts Inflicting Death or Injury on Others by Driving a Motor Vehicle, etc., a person who fails to exercise the due care required in driving a motor vehicle and thereby causes the death or injury of another is subject to punishment by imprisonment with or without work for not more than 7 years or a fine of not more than 1,000,000 yen; provided, however, that the person may be granted an absolute discharge in the light of circumstances if the injury is minor.
You will absolutely want to contact an attorney should you cause injuries or death to another party in a car accident.
The Road Traffic Act
According to the Road Traffic Act, if you drive your vehicle in a way that kills or injures a person or damages a building your license may be revoked by the public safety commission with jurisdiction over your domicile at the time the incident occurred.
In summary, see the below two important takeaway points from this article.
If you kill or injure another person in a car accident the following matters will apply to you:
- You can be sentenced to imprisonment of 7 years or less, or subjected to a fine of 1 million yen or less; however, if the inflicted injury is not severe, one may be exempt from the penalty.
- Your license may be revoked.
Contact an English-speaking lawyer
Killing or injuring another person in a car accident is a very serious situation and it’s one you don’t want to handle alone. You can be charged as a criminal, so you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer who speaks English to help you know what steps to take to negotiate the fine and/or jail time.
If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation, know that there is someone who can help. Call 03-6868-8647 for a consultation, or contact us through our online contact form.
This page is intended to be used for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice. For advice from a lawyer, please call the number listed above.