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By K.c. Vijayan, Abigail Ng WY
The Straits Times
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Rushing to his first grandson's first haircut ceremony - an important religious ritual - a motorcyclist without a valid licence took his son's motorbike to get there on time.
But a traffic accident on the way left Mr Aziz Dolah, 59, permanently disabled from the middle of his chest downwards.
He suffered severe head and spinal injuries in a noon collision with a van, which dragged him on Bedok Reservoir Road, in October 2011.
His right leg was amputated after complications from the accident.
Mr Aziz sued the van driver, Ms Fadzila Syed Mohamed - who was also fined $800 for inconsiderate driving - for personal injuries and losses in court.
Following court-sanctioned talks, the parties came to an agreement on damages amounting to $690,000 for Mr Aziz, who used to hold two jobs - as a warehouse assistant by day and cleaner by night - before the accident.
Lawyers say the unusual case emphasised that the duty of care owed to the victim by the van driver took precedence over the fact that Mr Aziz was riding without a licence.
Ms Fadzila accepted 85 per cent blame for the accident in the civil suit.
Mr Aziz, through his lawyer, Ms Vivienne Sandhu, had claimed damages for pain and suffering, loss of earnings and medical costs, among other things.
Their agreement on the payout was inked by way of a court order issued by a State Courts deputy registrar last week.
The sum comprised $504,000 in general damages, $96,000 for injury-related special damages and $90,000 in interest.
The move averted court hearings and witness cross-examination, which could have gone on for a week, to assess the damages payable.
Accident left him devastated
"Illegality is no bar to a claim in the circumstances of the case," said Hoh Law Corporation lawyer N. Srinivasan of his experience with such cases, noting that Mr Aziz's wrongful conduct was incidental to his claim against someone who had committed a serious wrong against him and was largely at fault.
Mr Aziz told The Straits Times yesterday that he had been taking motorcycle riding lessons and used his son's bike to try to get to the family event in Telok Blangah on time.