B.C. court cites Korean filial tradition in payout to parents over son's death

Court cites Korean tradition

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has awarded more than $327,000 to the parents of a teenager killed in 2019 for the “likely hypothetical future” care their son would have provided under Korean tradition.

Eric Shim died after being struck by a vehicle at the age of 17, just three months before he was to graduate from high school.

The ruling says Shim moved to Nanaimo, B.C., with his family from South Korea when he was 10, and his parents sued the driver and his insurer, saying their only child would have continued the Korean tradition of hyodo, or showing gratitude towards his parents.

Justice David Crerar says in his ruling published online Wednesday that the court had the difficult and hypothetical task of deciding the young man’s economic future.

The parents asked the court to award them $1.1 million to $1.6 million, saying their son would have taken over their two restaurants and made generous financial contributions to them.

Instead, the judge ruled the son would have provided about 20 per cent of his future income to his parents, then he subtracted expenses, added services such as translation, driving and guidance, and came up with $327,634.

“As a member of a younger generation immersed in western culture, his sense of hyodo obligation, particularly in economic form, might be diluted,” Crerar said of the son in his ruling.

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