TODAY, 27 March 2008
Paralysed cyclist gets $800k
MORE than two years after he was left paralysed from the neck down after crashing into a metal barrier at an overhead bridge in Tampines, a cyclist has finally been awarded nearly $800,000 in compensation.
Mr Koh Liep Hang, 43, had earlier sued the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and barrier contractor Koh Brothers for negligence, resulting in his injury and wanted about $1 million in compensation.
Last August, Mr Koh dropped the lawsuit against the LTA, and agreed to bear 35 per cent of the responsibility for the July 2005 accident, with Koh Brothers bearing 65 per cent, reported Lianhe Zaobao yesterday.
In an earlier Today report, the LTA had been quoted as saying that the contractor did not follow proper procedures when installing those barriers.
Mr Koh, a father of two young children, told the Chinese newspaper that it had been depressing period for his family. While he is able to lift his hands, communicate and eat normally, his fingers and legs have no strength.
When contacted, Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, Mr Ong Kian Min, told Today that he was happy that the parties “have come to an amicable settlement”. The “unfortunate incident” serves as a lesson that such barriers have to be carefully designed so that they will not harm the public.
I was surprised to read that the plaintiff dropped his suit against LTA and that LTA managed to tai-chi (push) away the responsibility to the contractor that they engaged to erect the barrier. LTA said that the contractor “did not follow proper procedures” when installing those barriers. I believe the LTA has blamed the contractor for not erecting the barriers on both ends of the bridge at the same time.
Tampines MP Ong Kian Min, himself a lawyer, said that the barrier was not “carefully designed”. Back in July 2005 when the incident happened, Ong called it “stupidest device I’ve ever seen”. He described the design as “very poor and dangerous”.
So who designed it? LTA or the contractor?
While the contractor may be partially at fault for incorrect installation procedure, it doesn’t absolve LTA completely, does it?
Ong Kian Min had said previously, “I’m insisting the LTA change the design. They should be held responsible.“
So why was the lawsuit withdrawn? Was the victim’s lawyer not doing his job or did the victim get pressured to drop an embarrassing lawsuit?
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