Elderly Chinese Man Seeks Damages for Hearing Impairment

April 7, 2015
Editor: Kiki Liu

A 70-year-old man from Xuzhou, a city of east China's Jiangsu Province, defended his rights and filed for compensation on March 1, 2015, years after a series of fireworks set off at a local newlywed couple's celebration left his left ear seriously injured.

Joyous Event Leads to a Perforated Eardrum

Back on May 8, 2011, a man by the last name of Wang attended the wedding ceremony of his old friend's children, bringing his personal blessing to the married-couple-to-be. In Chinese culture, the more elders take part in a wedding ceremony, the more happiness the near future will bring to the bride and groom.

However, a jarring accident would have Wang spending the rest of his evening in the hospital instead of with friends and relatives in the happy, boisterous hotel.

It was shortly after Wang entered the hotel that the fireworks were set off, meant to be heard and enjoyed by all the guests in attendance at the ceremony. However, while some of the guests enjoyed to spectacle, the loud, piercing noise left Wang in surprising agony.

Wang left the party immediately in an ambulance, heading straight for the emergency room.

After a full physical check up, Wang was diagnosed by the local doctor to have suffered hearing impairment in his left ear as well as a reduction in his auditory acuity — along with the signs of shock and stress that he was going through as a result of the sudden sequence of events.

Obviously, that first check up did not resolve the situation.

The next day, Wang sought medical advice again, going in for a full hearing examination and was there told that he had suffered a perforated eardrum. Upon hearing the grave news, he was in an understandable state of fury and distress and decided to seek compensation for his injury. However, the man who set off the fireworks provided only 500 yuan, to cover his medical fees up to that point, and turned an otherwise deaf ear to Wang's newly injured one.

So, Wang turned his attention to the wedding-planning company, as it was them who were in charge of the May 8 ceremony and events, which ultimately led to his injury.

"The man who played the firework that day was not our employer but a part-time helper, so we should not be the one's taking responsibility for such an unjustifiable demand," claimed the wedding institution.

Wang was backed into a corner and ultimately come to the decision of filing an appeal to the people's court in the Quanshan area of Xuzhou.

A Final Verdict Reasonable to Both Sides

The seesaw battle over compensation and rights cost Wang more than 3 years, as the final ruling was at long last announced on April 1, 2015.

The ruling would take effect within 10 days, as soon as the announcement was publicized, whereby the institution is required to pay a sum of 2,430 yuan (U.S. $392) to Wang for medical fees immediately following the accident, nursing expenses, transportation costs and impairment to his mental state.

The local court also gave a verdict to overrule Wang's other claims such as for compensation to cover the trauma he experienced as a result of the accident.

"As per citizens' personal rights as outlined in the Chinese Civil Code, citizens shall enjoy the right of life and health. That means Mr. Wang is granted the right to protection from harm," stressed the judge during the court proceedings.

"Moreover, according to the Tort Law of the People's Republic of China, it was a necessary for the defendant to pay the medical fee and rehabilitation expenditures for the injured, as the medical records issued by the certified medical institution showed that Wang's left ear was seriously impaired by the fireworks," stated Wang's lawyer.

"The purchase agreement between the wedding service company and the host reveals that the company is in charge of services and bears responsibility for any emergencies related to the wedding ceremony. This means that they are responsible for paying compensation for any accidents once the agreement is signed. Anyone who breaks the agreement will be faced with fines or heavy penalties according to the corresponding circumstances, as this constitutes a violation of Chinese law," summarized the judge.

Tort Law of the People's Republic of China

Chapter II Constituting Liability and Methods of Assuming Liability

Article 16

Where a tort causes any personal injury to another person, the tortfeasor shall compensate the victim for the reasonable costs and expenses for treatment and rehabilitation, such as medical treatment expenses, nursing fees and travel expenses, as well as the lost wages. If the victim suffers any disability, the tortfeasor shall also pay the costs of disability assistance equipment for the living of the victim and the disability indemnity. If it causes the death of the victim, the tortfeasor shall also pay the funeral service fees and the death compensation.

(Source: news.sina.com.cn/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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