Paralysed cabby sues drivers in six-car crash
Straits Times 5 February 2009
By Selina Lum
A FORMER taxi driver whose vehicle was sandwiched in a six-car collision along the Central Expressway (CTE) more than two years ago has sued the drivers of the three cars behind him for compensation.
Mr Ang Kim Seng, now 51, injured his neck in the crash, which left him a tetraplegic - his four limbs are paralysed.
His Toyota Crown taxi was the third in the six-car collision along the CTE near the Moulmein exit on Nov 17, 2006.
A trial to decide whether the three drivers are liable to pay him damages started in the High Court yesterday.
It is understood that Mr Ang is seeking compensation of about $800,000 to $900,000, although the present hearing does not deal with the amount.
In his lawsuit, he alleged negligence, claiming that the three drivers were responsible for his injuries.
But the defendants, each represented by a different lawyer, denied they were negligent. They alleged that Mr Ang was hurt when he crashed into the car in front of him even before he was rear-ended.
Mr Ang attended court yesterday strapped to a stretcher trolley, accompanied by two family members and a maid.
Testifying through a Mandarin interpreter, he said he had just negotiated a bend when the driver of a Nissan Presea in front of him suddenly slammed on the brakes. Mr Ang, who said he was travelling about four car lengths behind the Presea, told the court he also braked.
He said his vehicle was immediately rear-ended by Mr Goh Lam Kwee's Toyota Camry, causing his taxi to surge forward and hit the Presea. Moments later, his taxi was rear-ended again twice.
Mr Ang's lawyer, Mr Jimmy Yap, said in his opening statement that the Camry, which was one to two car lengths away, was travelling too close to the taxi.
He said the last two cars in the chain - Ms Tan Sok Eng's Mitsubishi Colt and Mr Ong Kian Huat's Nissan Sunny - were speeding and failed to stop in time, causing secondary collisions to the cab.
The defence of Mr Goh and Ms Tan is that their cars were propelled forward after being rear-ended by the respective cars behind them.
Mr Ong, whose Sunny is the last in the chain, admitted hitting the Colt in front of him, but denied that this caused the Colt to collide into all the cars in front.
Cross-examining Mr Ang, lawyer Willy Tay, who acts for Mr Goh, pointed to photos that showed that the front of the taxi was much more severely damaged compared to his client's Camry.
Mr Ang conceded that the Camry had not hit his taxi with the same amount of force as when his taxi hit the vehicle in front of him.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Feb 3, 2009.
- Justin Santiago
- Justin Santiago, BAppSc (Hons), MBA, LLB (Hons) comes from a journalism, market research, intellectual property and strategic communications consulting background. Now based in Melbourne he spends his time advising businesses on how to communicate to their customers as well as writing on various subjects of interest in this blog.
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