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June 2007 9th Edition Asian Casualty Report Contents Accident/Damage Summary Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Contents by Country ........................ 3 Commercial General Liability/Public Liability/ Products Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Construction Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Professional Indemnity/Errors & Omissions . . . . . . . 7 Medical Malpractice Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Workmen’s Compensation & Employers’ Liability . . 11 Directors’ & Officers’ Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Employment Practices Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Automobile Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Environmental Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 A Berkshire Hathaway Company Summary of some typical claims in various countries Amount Sought Amount Awarded Country Accident Type Injury Type Note Page by Victim or Settled Fatality and bodily Tainted blood during China Bodily injury injury by AIDS for 18 USD2.5m 8 blood transfusions sufferers Between USD2.8m Broken gas well affected Indonesia Property damage House damages to USD100m Pending 4 4,000 villagers estimated Hepatitis infection due to Japan Bodily injury Hepatitis to 9 patients USD2.07m tainted-blood-clotting 7 products Japan Bodily injury Fatality USD606,184 Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease 8 Malaysia Bodily injury Suffering USD295,942 Pending False HIV diagnosis 8 Malaysia Bodily injury Permanent disability USD147,971 Quadriplegia 9 Malaysia Bodily injury Permanent disability USD32,558 Motorcycle accident (motor) 14 Malaysia Bodily injury Permenent disability USD2.59m Car accident (motor) 14 Management’s Malaysia Financial loss Wrongful dismissal USD175,869 13 infringement Management’s Malaysia Financial loss Wrongful dismissal USD384,725 13 infringement Singapore Bodily injury Permanent disability USD1.06m Liver failure due to slim pills 4 USD162,596 mental damage + Singapore Bodily injury Mental damage Pending Botched “exorcism” 5 USD45,527 medical costs Singapore Bodily injury Fatality USD72,193 Workmen’s compensation 5 Awry-went stent One year in hospital Singapore Bodily injury USD364,216 Pending 10 operation instead of planned two days 7 workers injured, Singapore Bodily injury USD1,404,617 Roof collapse 8 1 fatality USD162,596 to Singapore Bodily injury Fatality Pending Temporary wall caved in 11 USD325,193 Heart attack (workers Singapore Bodily injury Fatality USD56,817 11 compensation) Singapore Bodily injury Permanent disability USD195,116 Motorcycle accident (motor) 14 Singapore Bodily injury Fatality USD3m Motorcycle accident (motor) 14 Singapore Bodily injury Fatality USD250,000 Pending Car accident (motor) 15 Omission to inform Singapore Financial loss Auditors Infringement USD504,049 management about 7 financial irregularities USD81,948 for golden dragon Flooding of a fish Singapore Loss of property arowanas and Pending Fish farm’s damage 5 farm USD31,218 repair costs House damage due to Singapore Property damage House damage USD247,146 6 Circle Line works House damage due to an Singapore Property damage House damage USD325,193 6 uncleaned exhaust Contents by Country Construction Liability Burst water pipe caused flooding in a shopping centre ...... 7 Twenty unsafe scaffolding sites ordered to cease operations 7 China Professional Indemnity/Errors & Omissions Commercial General Liability/Public Liability/ Gaelic Inns public house chain awarded SGD775,000 Products Liability against auditors ............................................................... 7 At least six fatal casualties due to poorly sterilized Eighty-eight-year-old woman died after doctor mistakenly antibiotics ........................................................................ 4 prescribed too high a dose of heart medication ................. 8 Medical Malpractice Liability Government seeks SGD1.6m over school roof collapse ........ 8 AIDS patients win landmark CNY19,23m damages ............ 8 Medical Malpractice Liability Environmental Liability Dispute mediation helps both patients and dentists ........... 9 Over 2,000 feared to have lead poisoning in China ............ 15 Thinking of suing your doctor? Both parties must talk first ................................................................... 9 Hong Kong Hospital bill ballooned from SGD15,000 to SGD560,000 .... 10 Employment Practices Liability Workmen’s Compensation & Employers’ Liability Sacked pilots file suit against Cathay ................................. 13 Foreman’s widow sues two contractors ............................. 11 General Insurance Association request increase in benefit Indonesia limits under the Workmen’s Compensation Act .................. 11 Fatal heart attack at work: claim upheld ........................... 11 Commercial General Liability/Public Liability/ Shipyard fined for death of engineer ................................. 12 Products Liability Worker injured in oil drum explosion ................................. 12 Broken gas well causes an ecological disaster .................... 4 New approach to increase workplace safety ...................... 12 Japan Singapore Airline settlement after plane crash ................... 12 Intensified checks on forklift operations ............................. 12 Commercial General Liability/Public Liability/ Products Liability Directors’ & Officers’ Liability Tokyo’s rush hour outage .................................................. 4 A genuine cover for honest slip-ups ................................... 13 Japan court orders government and, manufacturers to Charities seek to insure directors against lawsuits .............. 13 compensate victims of tainted blood products ................... 7 Automobile Liability Medical Malpractice Liability Accident invalid receives SGD300,000 in damages ............. 14 Update on Creutzfeld-Jakob lawsuits ................................. 8 Faked road collisions: Income to pursue workshops ........... 14 Biker’s death: Court reserves judgement ............................ 14 Malaysia Accident victims sues motorist for USD250,000 .................. 15 Fifty-nine hurt in bus-on-bus collision ................................ 15 Medical Malpractice Liability A Malaysian woman sues over false HIV diagnosis: Thailand report ............................................................................... 8 New threshold for standard of care provided by physicians 9 Medical Malpractice Liability Medical malpractice cases on the rise ................................ 10 Employment Practices Liability American receives MYR594,267 in compensation for wrongful dismissal ............................................................ 13 Dismissed country manager to receive MYR1.3m ............... 13 Automobile Liability Court upholds MYR110,000 damages for rubber tapper ..... 14 Court awarded millions to magicians for accident injuries ............................................................... 14 Philippines Medical Malpractice Liability Those missing pieces of gauze bandage ............................ 9 Singapore Commercial General Liability/Public Liability/ Products Liability TV Media insurer files writ against Slim 10 importer ........... 4 Escalator-related accidents decrease .................................. 4 FairPrice supermarket settles suit ....................................... 4 Woman sues priests for botched “exorcism” ...................... 5 Fish farm sues firm for SGD1m over dead fish .................... 5 Income sues US government to recover SGD111,000 payout 5 Ceiling fall down onto a family while shopping ................. 6 Fall down a theatre staircase was an accident ................... 6 Specialist judges to save money ........................................ 6 House owner receives SGD380,000 for damage to their house caused by Circle Line works ..................................... 6 Toddler’s big toe severed in mall escalator accident ........... 6 Restaurant operator ordered to pay fire damage costs ....... 6 Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 3 Commercial General Liability/ Tokyo’s rush hour outage Public Liability/Product Liability Japan: On 14 August 2006, the second largest blackout since 1987 affected Tokyo. Train services and approximately At least six fatal casualties due to poorly sterilized 1.4m homes were affected by a three-hour outage. No- antibiotics one was killed or injured. Emergency generators kept hospitals and stores running until power was restored. China: Officially, six patients died and more than eighty The power outage also disrupted Tokyo’s vast underground fell ill from antibiotics due to poor sterilisation. The state and commuter train services, though on most lines the media blamed the drug manufacturer in Anhui for longest stoppage only lasted for one hour. causing the deaths of ten patients on the mainland. Source: Straits Times, 15 August 2006 The Director of the State Food and Drug Administration stated that the incident reflected the “chaotic situation of TV Media insurer files writ against Slim 10 importer the national drug market and loopholes in our supervision Singapore: In 2003, the High Court found Slim 10 of the pharmaceutical products market”. He announced importer Semon Liu and TV Media jointly and severally measures for controlling the pharmaceutical industry. liable for actress Andrea De Cruz’s liver failure in 2002. Investigations have established that Anhui Pharmaceutical SGD1.63m (USD1.06m) in costs and damages were had failed to observe the approved state sterilization awarded to Ms. De Cruz, who could sue either or both standards and the company and its CEO were held companies to secure the award. responsible. TV Media’s insurer was required to foot the entire bill for In April and May 2006 eleven people died after being the damages and costs, since the importer did not foot given a defective kidney drug produced by Qugihar No 2 his share. On 7 July 2006, the insurer filed a writ, in TV Pharmaceutical. Media’s name, seeking to recover some money from the Source: South China Morning Post, 16 August 2006 importer, who was the director and main shareholder of the now defunct Health Biz, which imported the Broken gas well causes an ecological disaster slimming pills from China. The writ has yet to be served on him and Health Biz. Indonesia: An Indonesian-owned company has caused a Source: The New Paper, 14 September 2006 major pollution disaster in populous East Java. Streaming from a breached gas well for nearly a month now, a flood of toxic mud and gas has inundated four villages in the Escalator-related accidents decrease densely populated Sidoarjo district of East Java. At least Singapore: In July 2006, the Straits Times reported that two people have died, probably due to the presence fewer people were being injured on MRT escalators. The of hydrogen sulphide. 600 people have suffered transport operator SMRT, which handles 1.13m passenger breathlessness and dizziness and almost 5,600 people journeys a day on its north-south and east-west lines, have been forced to abandon their homes. said there were 112 such injuries last year, down from 157 in 2004 and 174 in 2003. The fact that 50,000 cubic metres of mud has been coursing through several locations every day would SBS Transit, which handles about 247,000 passenger suggest that a long section of the 3,000-metre deep journeys a day on the north-east line and the Sengkang well was not protected by casing. The management of and Punggol LRT systems, experiences an average of one Lapindo, a subsidiary of Energy Mega Persada, a mining, escalator-related accident roughly every ten days. Almost oil and gas trading company, has been accused of half involve commuters aged over sixty. negligence for failing to install adequate casing. Oil experts have asserted that drilling in an environmentally In Singapore, many accidents involve the elderly, who sensitive area with such a large population would lose their balance, and people carrying shopping bags. probably have required certain safeguards to have been Sources: The New Paper, 31 August 2006; Strait Times, 6 July 2006 put in place. As the operator, Lapindo appears to be liable for all claims for compensation, including the costs of FairPrice supermarket settles suit reclaiming the 130 hectares contaminated by the spill. Singapore: An accident occurred on 1 August 2001 while It is stated that Lapindo will need to pay USD700 in a three-year-old girl and her family were standing on a compensation to each of the 4,000 villagers and travelator in a supermarket. compensation to the factories affected by the mudflow. Business sources put the losses involved at USD100m or The girl, Irene, lost her balance, fell and her right hand more in a case which may ultimately be settled in court. became caught in a groove on the travelator. The girl’s grandfather pulled her hand out, accidentally severing Source: Straits Times, 6 July 2006 her right ring finger. Her parents sued FairPrice for damages. 4 Gen Re On 18 August 2006, the supermarket chain accepted enormous earnings potential since they can be bred for 70% of the blame in court. The exact amount of the up to two decades. According to fish enthusiasts, golden award will be assessed at a later date. Since the suit was dragon arowanas can cost between SGD500 (USD325) filed in the magistrates’ court, the maximum amount of and SGD10,000 (USD6,503) each, depending on age, damages will be SGD60,000 (USD39,023). size and breed. The supermarket’s insurer, NTUC Income, will pay the Lian Shing had commenced drainage operations next to damages and costs that the court awards to the girl. the farm in December 2002. OTF’s premises suffered NTUC Income initially offered to settle out of court, flooding during heavy downpours after Lian Shing’s but the plaintiffs had rejected its previous “without operations had altered the gradient of the area, blocking prejudice” offers and did not submit any counteroffers. a drain outside the farm and preventing rainwater from Source: The New Paper, 31 August 2006 flowing away. Forty-two arowanas died after floodwaters flowed into a pond on three occasions over a seven- Woman sues priests for botched “exorcism” month period. Lian Shing claims that the floodwaters were muddy and contained various other substances and Singapore: A fifty-year-old woman is suing Novena pollutants. Church, two priests and seven helpers, for what she claims to be the severe side effects of a botched exorcism. On the other hand, Lian Shing maintains that it took all necessary precautions to prevent water from flowing into The exorcism, performed against her will on 10 August the fish farm and that there were sufficient water pumps 2004, has left her so traumatized that she now needs and pipes to divert water away to roadside drains. It also twenty-four-hour care. The plaintiff, who has been claims that OTF had used water from an abandoned well admitted to Changi General Hospital several times, and an unused pond outside the farm and that this water was diagnosed last year as suffering from chronic post- could have killed the fish. traumatic stress disorder and depression. OTF denies drawing water from the external pond after Her medical expenses, amounting to more than drainage operations had commenced and stated that SGD70,000 (USD45,527), plus the cost of hiring a maid water from the well was solely for its indoor fish tanks. to look after her, have exhausted most of her savings. The Sources: Straits Times, 18 October 2006; 16 October 2006 plaintiff is seeking damages of more than SGD250,000 (USD162,596), including for loss of earnings as a tutor Income sues US government to recover and future medical expenses for long-term medication SGD111,000 payout for symptoms such as insomnia and stress, and psychiatric treatment. Singapore: On 16 July 2002, two CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy duty helicopters belonging to the US Navy came The priests have denied performing an exorcism on the too close to each other on the ground at Paya Lebar plaintiff. They state that together with seven helpers they Airbase. One was flying along the tarmac to land when had only prayed over her, in an act of deliverance, after she it hit the other, which was stationary but had its engine had approached them for help, saying she was possessed. and rotor blades running. The collision was due to contact between the rotor blades of the two helicopters. Exorcism has never been officially performed in Singapore, The resulting flying debris killed a Singaporean at least according to a theologian from St. Francis Xavier technician, who was about seventy-five metres away Major Seminary. A priest would need to be specially inspecting an RSAF C-130 transport plane in a hangar. appointed by the Bishop to perform an exorcism, and this did not happen in this case. The family of the deceased, an engineering services Source: Straits Times, 31 August 2006 inspector with ST Aerospace Engineering who was contracted to the Republic of Singapore Air Force to Fish farm sues firm for SGD1m over dead fish provide services at Paya Lebar Airbase, received SGD111,000 (USD72,193) in workmen’s compensation Singapore: In a lawsuit that began in the High Court in from NTUC Income, the insurer of ST Aerospace October 2006, OTF Aquarium Farm in Pasir Ris Farmway Engineering. 3 is suing Lian Shing Construction. The construction firm’s insurer, Liberty Insurance, is named as a third Now, in a rare move, NTUC Income is suing the United party in the suit. States Government to recover its money, since it claims that it was pilot negligence that caused the collision. The OTF is seeking around SGD126,000 (USD81,948) in pilots and/or their agents had failed to exercise proper compensation for forty-two prized golden dragon safety precautions and ensure that there was a safe arowana which it claims were killed by flooding caused distance between the two helicopters. The suit has been by Lian Shing’s plant. OTF is also claiming SGD48,000 filed in Singapore because the incident took place there. (USD31,218) for the costs of repairs to the pond in which The Singapore court still has the jurisdiction to hear the the fish were being reared. In total, OTF is seeking suit and pronounce judgment, and if the suit succeeds SGD1m (USD650,385) in compensation, mainly for loss NTUC will then need to register the Singapore judgment of future income due to the fact that the fish entail in a US court in order to recover its money. Source: Straits Times, 20 October 2006 Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 5 the area also complained about hairline cracks appearing Ceiling fall down onto a family while shopping in their walls after Circle Line works had commenced. In 2004, the LTA spent SGD130,000 (USD84,550) on Singapore: A ceiling panel approximately two square repairing cracks and other superficial damage to fifty- metres in size collapsed on a father and his baby when eight homes in the area. they were in a shopping centre. This collapse was followed by a rush of water. Father and baby were not In August 2005, thirty-five owners and residents of a injured. Around ten shoppers were in the area when the five-storey building were forced to move out because ceiling collapsed. The cause of the accident is still unclear of fears of collapse due to deep excavation operations, and under investigation. and the Singapore Land Authority offered shop owners Source: Today, 8 January 2007 SGD900,000 - 1m (USD 162,596 - 195,116) and home owners SGD250,000 - 300,000 (USD585,347 - 650,385) Fall down a theatre staircase was an accident in compensation. Singapore: A fifty-five-year-old woman fell down a flight Source: Strait Times, 17 July 2006 of stairs in a darkened esplanade at a theatre and died. It was established that the incident had been an accident Toddler’s big toe severed in mall escalator accident and that the theatre had observed the prevailing security Singapore: A two-year-old girl’s big toe was severed regulations, meaning that no-one was to blame. during an incident on 5 November 2006. The girl was out with her family for dinner and when the family of six Every step on the flight of stairs featured a luminous strip mounted the escalator to descend the little girl’s right and footlights. When the Hainanese opera started the rubber clog became stuck in the teeth of the escalator lights were switched off. One hour after the opera had step. Her father immediately freed her, only to find that started the woman went out onto the staircase. A doctor her big toe, including skin from the ball of her foot, had found her lying motionless at the bottom of the stairs. been severed. She was taken to hospital and died the following day of extensive skull fractures and loss of blood. A bystander had pressed the emergency stop button. An ambulance rushed the girl to a nearby clinic where The coroner ruled that the footlight had provided her injuries were bandaged. Paramedics arrived about sufficient light for the stairs. The floor was not slippery, twenty-five minutes later and she was taken to hospital. the staircase was not too steep and a handrail was in However, the right toe was not found until nearly three place on one side of the staircase. hours later and could not be re-attached as it was too Source: Straits Times, 27 March 2007 badly damaged. Next day, the girl underwent two hours of surgery to amputate the remaining toe bone and graft Specialist judges to save money skin from her thigh to her damaged foot. The big toe Singapore: Judges will be trained to become more helps the body to maintain balance while walking. specialized. The intention is to save money on legal fees and increase productivity. Experts maintain that rubber footwear becomes trapped more easily. The soft and pliable footwear, renowned for This may affect medical or technical knowledge. In the its comfort, covers the front of the foot and has a back strap. construction business arbitration before a panel of two legally trained arbitrators and one technical expert is This is not the only incident involving such footwear. Just preferred. Shipping cases are already heard before a month previously the United States media had reported specialist judges in the High Court. It is believed that that there had been several escalator accidents involving specialist judges will be able to focus on the facts of a a popular brand of rubber footwear. In some instances case without much preparation. warnings have been posted near escalators urging those wearing such footwear to be careful. Source: Straits Times, 30 June 2006 Sources: Straits Times, 7 November 2006; 6 November 2006 House owner receives SGD380,000 for damage to their house caused by Circle Line works Restaurant operator ordered to pay fire damage costs Singapore: The owners of a terrace house have received SGD380,000 (USD247,146) in compensation from the Singapore: A fire started by an uncleaned exhaust duct Land Transport Authority (LTA) because their house had in the kitchen of a restaurant caused damage to a been damaged by Circle Line works. In 2004, the walls of neighbouring building to the tune SGD500,000 the house had started cracking and its beams and pillars (USD325,193). The November 2002 blaze was started by needed to be supported by steel poles. In April 2006, the an unattended wok of oil. house was ordered to be vacated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) because it was declared The Appeal Court noted that the restaurant operator had unsafe. The compensation included reconstruction costs, failed to keep the duct clean, meaning that they were the costs of hiring a professional engineer to assess the fully responsible and required to pay the costs. The house, legal fees and loss of income. Other residents in Appeal Court rejected their request for the costs to be split with the building owner. Source: Strait Times, 5 July 2006 6 Gen Re Construction Liability Professional Indemnity/ Errors & Omissions Burst water pipe caused flooding in a shopping centre Japan court orders government and, manufacturers Singapore: In October 2006 a burst water pipe flooded to compensate victims of tainted blood products the basement of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. Tenants Japan: Osaka District Court awarded compensation to are claiming compensation for damaged goods and nine hepatitis patients who contracted the disease from equipment and loss of earnings due to the fact that they tainted blood-clotting products, mostly in the 1980s. had been forced to keep their shops closed over the Four plaintiffs won compensation from the manufacturers, weekend. They complain that the flooding could have been the pharmaceutical companies Mitsubishi Pharma Corp. avoided if the building management had taken swifter and Benesis Corp., and five won compensation from the action. One operator had reported a leaking pipe three government and the manufacturers. A court spokesman times before the water flooded the basement of the mall. refused to disclose the amount, but the Kyodo news agency put it at JPY256m (USD2.07m). The plaintiffs The estimated damage cost was about SGD500,000 claimed that the government and the drug manufacturers (USD325,193). had continued to use the medicine, called fibrinogen, Source: Straits Times, 10 October 2006 despite knowing that the product was potentially contaminated. They also blame the government for not Twenty unsafe scaffolding sites ordered to cease taking steps to regulate the tainted products, and assert operations that the pharmaceutical companies had neglected their responsibility to inform to health authorities and Singapore: After a series of intense safety checks at hospitals about the product risk. construction sites and shipyards in the first half of this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) imposed 287 More than eighty patients have also filed similar lawsuits fines and twenty cease operations orders. About 28% of across the country. infringements involved missing toe boards and guard Source: The Star Online, 21 June 2006 rails, which are vital for preventing workers from falling. Other common scaffold-related infringements include lack of proper maintenance and inadequate stairs and Gaelic Inns public house chain awarded ladders enabling workers to ascend safely. SGD775,000 against auditors Singapore: Two former auditors of a well-known chain of Scaffolds are temporary steel or wooden structures public houses have been ordered to pay SGD775,000 erected on construction sites and in shipyards for the (USD504,049) for failing to alert the chain’s management purpose of accessing high and hard-to-reach places. In promptly to a major incidence of fraud perpetrated by the past four years, falls from scaffolds have accounted the company’s former group finance manager. Between for about one out of every ten fatal accidents both on March 2003 and May 2004 the manager had diverted construction sites and in shipyards. sums of money instead of banking them. The manager’s actions came to light when an administrative officer MOM has inspected 198 scaffolding sites so far this year spotted accounting discrepancies. – compared to forty-three in the whole of last year. One- third of the scaffolding sites inspected in 2005 were so The representative of the commissioned audit firm, unsafe that they were ordered to cease operations Patrick Lee Public Accounting Cooperation, had received immediately – but this has improved to about one in bank reconciliation statements showing the difference ten sites this year. between the cash balance in the accounting records and the actual cash in the bank. The cash in the bank was Despite efforts to improve safety standards, lapses still SGD672,253 (USD437,224) less than that noted in the continue to plague construction sites which use accounting records. The judge ruled that the auditor scaffolds. MOM is urging employers to do more to should have promptly investigated the reason for the protect their workers. unusually long list of reconciling items and taken immediate action to warn the management or directors On 24 August 2006, three workers were injured when a of the incidence of fraud or the irregularities which had fifteen-metre high scaffold at VivoCity in HarbourFront been uncovered. collapsed. Eleven construction workers were on the scaffold at the time spray-painting the wall facing St. The ruling raises questions concerning the extent of an James power station. One suffered a fractured right arm audit firm’s responsibilities and is bound to trigger alarm and two bruising and scratches. bells throughout the profession. Source: Straits Times, 20 December 2006 On 17 September 2006, a twenty-nine-year-old worker from India died after tumbling from a mast-climbing platform on a Tampines site where a Courts furniture store is being built. Source: Straits Times, 22 September 2006 Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 7 Eighty-eight-year-old woman died after doctor Medical Malpractice Liability mistakenly prescribed too high a dose of heart medication AIDS patients win landmark CNY19,23m damages Singapore: A doctor mistakenly prescribed too high a China: A group of AIDS patients in China has won more dose of heart medication, with the result that her patient than CNY19.23m (USD2.5m) in compensation in a died nine weeks later. Due to the inconclusive nature of landmark case. These patients contracted the HIV virus the evidence the state coroner returned an open verdict. from tainted blood during blood transfusions at the The Clementi Polyclinic physician admitted that she had hospital in Heilongjiang Province. prescribed a dosage which was four times that of a normal patient’s dosage of digoxin – a medicine that The provincial hospital will pay CNY20m (USD2.6) in regulates the contraction of the heart. The doctor also compensation to the victims and their families. This increased the woman’s dosage of warfarin, an anti- includes a one-off payment of CNY200,000 (USD26,072) coagulant that thins the blood. This increase would have each, plus CNY3,000 (USD391) in monthly payments, for required a follow-up visit one or two weeks later, but the eighteen sufferers. The hospital will also cover the doctor had only scheduled a check-up for more than two victims’ medical bills until they die. Relatives of another months later due to the fact that the patient was old and victim who had already died from the infection will not very mobile. The patient died of heart failure nine receive over CNY300,000 (USD39,100) from the hospital. weeks later . Her condition had been complicated by pneumonia and chronic kidney failure. A heart expert The Beijing Aizhixing Institute, a group dedicated to informed the coroner that the excessive dose of digoxin helping HIV and AIDS sufferers, said the combined might have contributed to the patient’s heart failure. payout was the biggest in China and followed years Source: Straits Times, 28 June 2006 of struggle by victims across the country for adequate compensation. Government seeks SGD1.6m over school roof collapse In the 1990s thousands of people in China contracted Singapore: Seven years after the collapse of a roof at AIDS through government-backed blood drives. Compassvale Primary School the Government has Source: Today (Singapore), 6 December 2006 filed claims against the construction company BKB Engineering amounting to SGD1.6m (USD1,040,617) for Update on Creutzfeldt-Jakob lawsuits additional costs incurred as a result of the June 1999 Japan: With the relatives of a male Creutzfeldt-Jakob collapse. The accident injured seven foreign workers, Disease victim, who had died at the age of 39 after a leaving one permanently disabled. The Government is transplant of infected dried dura mater, reaching a court- also claiming damages for breach of contract, negligence mediated JPY74.8m (USD606,184) settlement, the and/or breach of statutory duty, and costs. number of damage suits filed and settled in the Otsu District Court has risen to forty-two, meaning that all the In 2000 BKB Engineering was fined SGD30,000 cases before this court have been resolved. The number (USD19,512) for its role in the collapse. It was subsequently of similar cases before the Tokio Court has risen to sixty- placed under judicial management to avoid liquidation. five altogether, with fifty-five already settled and ten still BKB Engineering, on the other hand, is claiming over ongoing. The defendants in the lawsuits are, first and SGD 4.1m (USD2,7m) from the Government: SGD1.8m foremost, the Japanese Government, which approved the (USD1,2m) for the same accident and SGD2.3m import, and the German pharmaceutical company which (USD1,5m) for delay and wrongful deductions resulting manufactured the infected dried dura mater. from another government-awarded school commission. Source: Daily Yomiuri, 6 March 2007 Source: Today, 5 July 2006 A Malaysian woman sues over false HIV diagnosis: report Malaysia: A thirty-one-year-old woman went for a routine pre-natal check-up during her pregnancy with her first child in 1999. After undergoing an HIV test at a government hospital, she claimed that the doctor had, in the presence of some of other villagers, informed her that she was HIV-positive. 8 Gen Re the case here, a nurse informs a surgeon that two pieces Another blood test established that she was free of the of gauze bandage are still missing the surgeon may not virus, but in the meantime she had been ridiculed and flinch from informing the patient of this fact. In this case humiliated by friends and relatives and had found it the surgeon had even misled the patient into believing difficult to obtain employment. The ostracized woman that the pain which she was experiencing was a normal has now won permission to sue her doctor and the consequence of her operation. Government. The Malaysian Court of Appeal has ruled Source: Manila Bulletin, 7 February 2007 that she can proceed with a MYR1m (USD295,942) suit, this after the High Court had dismissed the case in Dispute mediation helps both patients and February 2004 on the grounds that she had failed to dentists prove the alleged negligence. Singapore: The Singapore Dental Association (SDA) Source: Today, 19 October 2006 Ethics Committee, which represents almost all the 1,300 dentists here, has assumed an active mediation role. It New threshold for standard of care provided by settled fiftyeight cases last year and has settled sixty- physicians seven cases so far this year. Out of these, twenty-six were Malaysia: In Malaysia a Federal Court decision regarding due to misunderstanding, fifteen involved complaints of medical negligence may have set a new standard for the poor dental work and ten were for overcharging. issue of informed consent. The claimant in the case had developed quadriplegia after a series of operations had Since 2004, when the committee assumed a proactive gone wrong. The Federal Court backed a decision of a role in dealing with complaints, the highest amount of High Court declaring the hospital and the surgeon liable compensation it has obtained for a patient is SGD18,000 and awarding the victim MYR500,000 (USD147,971) (USD11,707), a case in which the dentist was clearly at in damages. The Federal Court held that a medical fault. In consequence of active mediation patients avoid practitioner is duty bound by law to inform a patient legal bills and dentists pay less for insurance. The process who is capable of understanding and appreciating such starts with a patient making a complaint: this can be information of the risks involved in any proposed done by e-mail, fax or standard letter. treatment. According to the court medical specialists in particular are required to meet a higher standard of care The insurance premiums which dentists pay to protect than “ordinary” medical doctors. themselves against charges of negligence or malpractice jumped by more than 20% a year in 2003 and 2004. This The patient in the case at issue claimed that she would was due to a recent claim which, if settled in full, would not have readily agreed to undergo the first operation have exhausted the total annual premiums which are had she been properly warned of the risks involved. This paid by all dentists here. new high standard can be seen as departing from a fifty- year English legal principle, which is widely applied in Mediation eliminates legal fees. The Association is also Malaysian cases, by virtue of which where the standard able to enlist the services of specialists for minimal rates, of proof in medical negligence suits is that of a reasonable or even free of charge. By settling the bulk of complaints man; for example, a practitioner is in the clear if he was against dentists here, it has curbed the rising cost of acting in accordance with one of the prevailing bodies of insurance, which jumped from SGD525 (USD341) in opinion, a standard also known as “doctor knows best”. 2002 to SGD855 (USD556) last year. The premium this Now, given the need for a higher standard of care, a year has risen by a modest 5% to SGD900 (USD585). more appropriate phrase would be “doctor knows best if Source: Straits Times, 18 October 2006 he acts reasonably, logically and gets his facts right.” One of the possible implications of this decision may be that Thinking of suing your doctor? Both parties must doctors resort to defensive medicine, which might result talk first in higher insurance premiums. Singapore: From January 2007 onwards, doctors and Sources: Bernama Daily Malaysian News, 29 December 2006; New Straits Times, 30 December 2006 patients will be required to discuss disputes before any suit can be filed. This move is intended to forestall Those missing pieces of gauze bandage needless lawsuits. The new rules stipulate the necessary steps and timeframe, procedures which both parties are Philippines: The Supreme Court of the Philippines has required to follow. Only if these procedures fail to result ruled that a hospital and the surgeon who performed the in the resolution of a dispute can a patient go to court. operation were to be held accountable for leaving two The aim is to reduce the number of malpractice suits pieces of gauze bandage inside the body of a patient against doctors and, at the same time, ensure that those following surgery, negligent conduct that caused the patients with genuine grounds for complaint will not shy death of the patient. Although the court afforded some away from seeking justice because of the high legal costs leeway to surgeons at times when a patient’s life is in involved. danger, they are nevertheless required to apply reasonable care and diligence, meaning that if, as was Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 9 minor surgery. In accordance with the estimated amount Malpractice lawsuits can cost between SGD200,000 of SGD15,227 (USD9,903) the daughter had paid (USD130,077) and SGD800,000 (USD520,308), whereas SGD10,000 (USD6,503) in advance and an additional the compensation which is awarded by judges here might amount of SGD13,000 (USD8,455) the following week. not even cover a plaintiff’s legal bills. The subordinate No advice had been forthcoming on cost estimation in courts only award a maximum of SGD250,000 the event of possible complications. The daughter’s (USD162,596) in civil cases. lawyer argued that while, obviously, the final amount could deviate slightly form the initial estimation, they Patients seeking redress have therefore been more inclined should not be “galaxies apart”. The case is ongoing. to turn to the Singapore Medical Council than file a civil Source: Straits Times, 22 August 2006 claim. The council receives about 100 complaints against doctors each year. In contrast, only eleven lawsuit were Medical malpractice cases on the rise filed at the subordinate courts last year, all of which were settled out of court. Thailand: According to the National Health Security Office (NHSO) of Thailand there has been an increase in Of the seventy-nine medical negligence suits filed in the maternal death rate and the number of doctor- Singapore since 1998, only two have reached trial. A patient lawsuits. Given that obstetrics/ gynaecology are 2001 Singapore Medical Association study confirms this: the fields in which most of the lawsuits are filed (in the the biggest problem which patients experienced at the years 2004 to 2006, 216 out of 371 lawsuits concerned hands of their doctors was arrogance. Legal proceedings medical malpractice during child delivery), it is the are often initiated because of miscommunication between maternal death rate of 19.84 per 100,000 that is doctor and patient, or because a patient interprets a particularly worrying. Causes are post-partum perceived lack of information and empathy as a lack haemorrhage, embolism, pregnancy-induced of due care and attention on the part of the doctor. hypertension and infection, with the latter probably being due to the increasing number of caesarean One caveat of these meetings, however, is that whatever sections. This problem is now being addressed by is said cannot be subsequently used in evidence if a Thailand’s Medical Services Department, which is trying patient still decides to sue. This is to encourage both to introduce measures in order to reduce the number of parties to adopt a policy of complete honesty during c-section deliveries by 20-30 %. Another factor may also discussions. If one party does not follow the rules and a be contributing to the rise in the number of lawsuits: lawsuit ensues, the judge can order the offending party over the course of the last few years patients who had to pay costs at the end of the proceedings; the court can formerly sought help from the Medical Council of also suspend the lawsuit until the rules are followed. Thailand (MCT) have increasingly been turning to the courts since it has often been mooted that the MCT The changes are expected to reduce frivolous claims, tends to favour the medical profession over the patients, which, in turn, will keep medical insurance premiums e.g. in demanding rights of immunity for doctors against down, since premiums have almost tripled since 2002. unfair complaints. Depending on their field of practice, doctors now pay Source: Thai News Service, 13 December 2006 from between SGD1,500 (USD976) to over SGD20,000 (USD13,007) each year to protect themselves against major claims. Source: Straits Times, 30 November 2006 Hospital bill ballooned from SGD15,000 to SGD560,000 Singapore: Who pays if a two-day stay in hospital turns into a year-long stay and the bill, originally estimated at SGD15,227 (USD9,903), becomes SGD560,000 (USD364,216)? This question will have to be decided in a lawsuit pending at Singapore High Court. A simple stent operation had gone wrong, resulting in a number of problems and the need to perform a more invasive bypass operation. This ultimately caused numerous health problems, including a minor stroke, internal bleeding and gangrene. Thus, when, after almost a year, the patient finally returned home her daughter was held jointly liable by the hospital for the enormous hospital bill because she had admitted her mother to the hospital. The Singapore Health Ministry stipulates that persons planning to undergo hospital treatment should receive financial advice. The patient’s daughter had been advised, but only as to the estimated cost of the original 10 Gen Re Workmen’s Compensation & Employers’ The insurance cooperative NTUC encourages workers to Liability claim under the Act since it provides for a no-fault scheme, whereas under common law negligence on the part of the employer needs proving. Foreman’s widow sues two contractors Singapore: The wife of a victim of a Nicoll Highway Insurers believe that some lawyers are “ambulance- accident is suing Nishimatsu, the main contractor, and chasing” for injured workers; sources claim that while the victim’s employer, the sub-contractor Kori Construction, these lawyers offer to waive legal expenses until damages in the High Court for compensation on behalf of their are awarded, they do accept a sort of contingency fee twelve-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter. The of 20% - 30% of the compensation which is awarded. victim had been the construction foreman at the Circle This practice might be one of the reasons for the rise in Line MRT site on Nicoll Highway. He died after a workmen claims which is driving this already unprofitable temporary wall at the site collapsed, resulting in the insurance sector more deeply into the red. subsidence of the highway. Sources: Straits Times, 23 January 2007; Straits Times, 20 January 2007 The Committee of Inquiry report on the incident Fatal heart attack at work: claim upheld has pinned the blame on Nishimatsu, ruling that Singapore: In a landmark ruling in September 2006, the Nishimatsu’s negligence led to the collapse. In January High Court has ruled that the family of a coach driver 2006, Nishimatsu was fined the maximum amount of who died of a heart attack while at work is entitled to SGD200,000 (USD130,077) after it admitted its design a claim under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. On errors had resulted in a retaining wall at the site being 4 March 2004, the fifty-eight-year-old driver became too weak, leading to its collapse. The widow accused breathless while carrying a bag to the coach and Nishimatsu of wrongful death, asserting that Nishimatsu subsequently died. At the time, the Manpower Ministry was “vicariously liable for their acts of omission” and took the view that no compensation was payable that Kori Construction was also negligent. She is because the injury was not work-related, although he claiming compensation to cover “funeral expenses had died while performing his duties. and aggravated and punitive damages”. A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for 18 September 2006. The victim’s family appealed to the Deputy Commissioner of Labour, who reversed the Ministry’s decision and This is the second lawsuit concerning the Nicoll Highway awarded the family SGD87,360 (USD56,817) based on his incident. The family of a forty-four-year-old crane average salary at the time. The insurer, NTUC Income, operator is also suing the main contractor, Nishimatsu- and the employer, Asia Coach Services, appealed to the Lum Chang, and his employer, Tiong Woon Crane, for High Court to overturn the award, arguing that it was between SGD250,000 and SGD500,000 (between purely coincidental that the driver’s heart attack had USD162,596 and USD325,193). This case is also pending happened whilst he was at work. before the High Court. The Judicial Commissioner dismissed their appeal with The families of the other two victims, a construction costs. The High Court upheld the decision of the Deputy worker, thirty-seven, and the inspector of works, fifty-six, Commissioner of Labour that the employer cannot had earlier accepted workmen’s compensation of more sidestep liability by evidencing that illness had than SGD100,000 (USD65,038) each. contributed towards the death. The employer can do so Source: Straits Times, 30 August 2006 only if they can demonstrate that illness had been the sole cause of death. Medical evidence supported the General Insurance Association request increase view that the employee’s performance of his duties that in benefit limits under the Workmen’s morning had contributed towards his heart attack. It was Compensation Act immaterial whether or not the man had over-exerted Singapore: Rising workmen claims – especially in the himself or had a pre-existing condition. The Judicial construction industry – have prompted the General Commissioned stated: “What is material is that Insurance Association (GIA) to ask the Ministry of something in fact transpired in the course of his work Manpower for a review of the benefit limits stipulated which made the injury occur when it did.’‘ under the Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCT). As Source: Straits Times, 18 September 2006 common law payouts are 50% - 100% higher and common law also provides for compensation for pain and suffering, more workers sue their employers for work-related injuries instead of claiming under the WCT. If the limits under the Act were brought into line with the much higher common law payouts this costly litigation could be discouraged. Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 11 Shipyard fined for death of engineer The number of work-related deaths dropped slightly in 2006; from January to June thirty people died in work- Singapore: On 29 June 2006, North Shipyard was fined related accidents compared with thirty-five in the same SGD4,000 (USD2,601) for failing to maintain breathing period the previous year. This is true for all industries apparatus, leading to the death of a marine engineer except shipbuilding and ship repair; here the number of who had suffocated in a tank on a barge in September deaths rose eight-fold. 2005. The deceased had been assigned by his employer to check a steel tank on a barge at North Shipyard. As the Sources: Straits Times, 18 August 2006; Business Times, 12 August 2006; Straits Times, 13 July 2006 only breathing apparatus available at the shipyard had no oxygen, it was not possible to search for and possibly Singapore Airline settlement after plane crash rescue the engineer. North Shipyard pleaded guilty; the maximum fine would have been SGD5,000 (USD3,252). Singapore: By October 2006 – six years after a plane crash at Taipei Airport in October 2000 – all fourteen The other defendant, Marina Offshore, was accused of cases filed by members of the cabin crew against not having conducted an obligatory test to guarantee Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the Singapore High Court had that there was sufficient oxygen in the tank to ensure been settled out of court. The terms of the settlements entry for an inspection. This constituted a breach of the were not disclosed; but when assessing the amount of Factories Act. However, the Ministry of Manpower later damages courts take into consideration the following dropped the charge. No reason was given for the charge factors: the nature of the injury sustained, whether or being dropped, but it is speculated that it was unclear not long-term treatment is needed, the plaintiff’s last whether or not a vessel could legally be defined as a salary and the number of dependants. “factory”. Sources: Straits Times, 15 September 2006; Straits Times, 30 June 2006 The accident happened when the plane crashed into construction equipment on a closed runway and caught Worker injured in oil drum explosion fire. Thirty-eight of the 179 people on board were killed. Singapore: A metal worker at the Sin Min Road metal Several members of the cabin crew had sued SIA in the workshop suffered severe head injuries when the lid of United States, but the US court decided Singapore was an oil drum blew off. He later died in hospital. It was a more appropriate venue. All the passenger lawsuits reported that the man had been earning some extra – twenty-six in Singapore and more than sixty in the US – money by cutting the bases off oil drums with a blow were also settled out of court. torch and selling them as bins for burning incense paper. These drums had been used to store and transport waste Investigations into the cause of the accident came to oil. Blow-torch operations on such drums are extremely different conclusions, such as pilot error, construction, dangerous since they can contain potentially lighting and the control tower. inflammable vapours even when empty. Sources: New Paper, 18 October 2006; Straits Times, 29 July 2006 Sources: Straits Times, 18 August 2006; Straits Times, 28 June 2006 Intensified checks on forklift operations New approach to increase workplace safety Singapore: Following an increasing number of Singapore: In March 2005, the Government announced workplace accidents involving forklifts, the Ministry of that it intended to reduce the number of workplace Manpower (MOM) has intensified checks on forklift deaths by half within the next decade. In order to do this, operations and worksites involving confined spaces, many new measures have been initiated, such as such as shipyards where welding operations are requiring all building contractors to be licensed and performed in vessel cabins. establishing a hotline for anonymous complaints relating to unsafe worksites. Furthermore, on 1 March 2006, the Investigations showed that with regard to some of the new Workplace Safety and Health Act came into effect, forklift accidents companies had been using unqualified which places the onus of safety on owners, developers, operators, this despite the fact that since 2001 it has contractors and engineers as well as on workers. The been stipulated by law that forklifts must only be maximum fine for an offending company was more than operated by people who have passed a training course at doubled from SGD200,000 to SGD500,000 (USD130,077 an MOM-approved school. In addition, the Workplace to USD325,193). Safety and Health Advisory Committee released a checklist to help companies ensure that the brakes of According to the Director of the National Trade Union forklift trucks function properly and that the machines Congress, employers do nothing to assess the dangers to are well maintained. which workers are exposed. In 2005, seventy-one Source: Straits Times, 4 July 2006 workers were killed on site and SGD68.5m (USD44,5m) was paid out in workers’ compensation as a result of accidents. 12 Gen Re Directors’ & Officers’ Liability Employment Practices Liability A genuine cover for honest slip-ups Sacked pilots file suit against Cathay Singapore: In September 2006, Fortis Private Banking Hong Kong: Two pilots who were sacked by Cathay organized a talk on a directors’ and officers’ (D&O) Pacific along with forty-nine others in July 2001 are suing policy for voluntary welfare organization (VWO) the airline for breach of contract and defamation. The representatives. D&O insurance was first introduced in claimants were employed through a Cathay subsidiary, Asia in 1986. The representatives were informed that US Basing. The writ follows a ruling issued by the UK’s D&O insurance protects individuals against personal House of Lords in January 2006 that one of the sacked liability and financial loss arising out of wrongful acts pilots could seek compensation for unfair dismissal under – actual or alleged. These can include negligence, English employment legislation. The pilots, who had misrepresentation or errors that cause financial loss to a participated in the actions of the Hong Kong Aircrew third party. D&O is only provided for genuine mistakes Officers’ Association, claim that Cathay had breached and does not cover intentional wrongdoing or criminal part of the Employment Ordinance protecting workers acts, such as fraud or insider trading. D&O also excludes against being sacked for being active members of a personal misconduct related to the acceptance of union. On 20 June 2001, union members had resolved to improper profits, payments and benefits. However, it take industrial action, and on 3 July the Association was noted that D&O insurance is not a substitute for instituted what it called the Maximum Safety Strategy, good corporate governance and may have the potential basically a work-to-rule regime. On 9 July 2001 the fifty- to breed complacency among directors and officers. one pilots were summarily dismissed. Source: Today, 20 September 2006 Source: South China Morning Post, 15 February 2006 Charities seek to insure directors against lawsuits American receives MYR594,267 in compensation for wrongful dismissal Singapore: The Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (Sata) recently insured its eighteen board members Malaysia: An American who was wrongly dismissed by against lawsuits. All board members serve voluntarily Lilly Industries Sdn. Bhd. in 2000 has been awarded without any financial reward. Following the National compensation of MYR594,267 (USD175,869). A local Kidney Foundation (NKF) scandal, in which the former industrial court awarded this amount to the former NKF CEO and three former board members were sued manager of the company’s Wood Pro Division after ruling for a host of questionable practices, awareness of their that his dismissal had been without just cause or reason. exposure to legal responsibilities and liabilities has risen The court judged that the selection of the manager for amongst the volunteers of non-profit organizations. redundancy and the manner in which it had transpired had been unfair, adding that the company could have Many other larger charities are now looking to purchase deployed him in other capacities since he had previously D&O insurance policies in order to cover their directors been employed in various divisions of the company. against claims and legal expenses. As it is difficult for Source: Xinhua News Agency, 5 July 2006 charities to find suitable individuals who are willing to volunteer as board members, they at least want to give Dismissed country manager to receive MYR1.3m them the assurance that they enjoy some protection. The cover will not indemnify board members for any actual Malaysia: A former Malaysia country manager of Coca- wrongdoing. In Singapore there are said to be few Cola Far East Ltd (CCFE) has been awarded in excess of insurers which underwrite such specialty insurance, MYR1.3m (USD384,725) in back pay and compensation which can only be purchased by a non-profit organization for wrongful dismissal eight years ago. The Industrial on behalf of its entire board. Court Chairman, Franklin Goonting, ordered the company to pay the sum by 14 October 2006. Sources: Straits Times, 14 July 2006; Today, 11 July 2006 CCFE had relieved the manager of his duties without stating any reason. CCFE had subsequently cancelled his work permit, leaving him stranded with only a tourist visa, and his family was required to leave the country. They were subsequently forced to exist on their savings and the ensuing financial and emotional stress had led to their separation. Goonting concluded that a series of breaches had occurred and that the cumulative effect of these breaches constituted clearly demonstrated that the company (CCFE) had no longer intended being bound by the manager’s contract of employment. This the claimant was entitled to interpret as constructive dismissal. Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 13 The plaintiff received twenty-four months’ back pay and Accident invalid receives SGD300,000 in damages fourteen months’ salary as compensation in lieu of Singapore: A motorcycle accident on 21 July 2002 left a reinstatement for the years of service which he had woman, then twenty-four, with permanent epilepsy. She rendered. Prior to his dismissal he had been earning was flung off the back of a motorcycle when the rider, MYR34,679.65 (USD10,263) per month. His claim for a who was travelling at an “excessive speed”, lost control bumper sum of MYR72.5m (USD21.4m), including loss of the machine. The plaintiff suffered skull fractures and of earnings up to the age of sixtyfive, retirement plan brain damage. benefits and stock options, was dismissed. Source: Today, 19 September 2006 In August 2006, the High Court awarded Ms. Norhayati nearly SGD300,000 (USD195,116) in damages against Automobile Liability the rider of the motorcyclist, a friend of hers, for negligence. Court upholds MYR110,000 damages for rubber Source: Straits Times, 30 August 2006 tapper Faked road collisions: Income to pursue workshops Malaysia: On 12 September 2006, the Court of Appeal upheld the MYR109,340 (USD32,558) damages which Singapore: Insurer NTUC Income is pursuing at least had been awarded to a motorcyclist who was disabled in fifteen motor workshops which it believes have cheated both hands following an accident involving his the company out of USD1m on the basis of fraudulent motorcycle and a bus in 1988. claims. This decision has been reached following Income’s legal victory in March over a bus driver who In October 2000, the Sessions Court ordered Len Seng was found guilty by a court of having staged several Omnibus Co. Bhd. to pay general and special damages accidents with the aim of helping third parties fleece the totalling MYR97,590 (USD28,881) after ruling that the insurer. bus company had been 100% responsible for the accident. In October 2003, the High Court allowed the The court ruled that the eight accidents in which the bus claimant’s appeal and increased the general damages for driver had been involved were so similar that they could injuries to his right hand to MYR30,000 (USD8,878) from hardly be coincidental, and concluded that his conduct MYR20,000 (USD5,918) and the special damages for had been “undoubtedly fraudulent”. actual loss of earnings to MYR4,200 (USD1,243) from MYR2,450 (USD725). The man, thirty-nine, had suddenly became accident- prone after twenty years with a spotless driving record. However, the High Court upheld the award of Following all the accidents, the ‘wronged’ motorists had MYR20,000 in general damages for injuries to his left lodged third-party claims against Income, which insured hand, MYR5,000 (USD1,479) for scars, MYR42,000 the vehicles of the bus driver’s various employers. The (USD12,429) in special damages for loss of livelihood, workshops that undertook the repairs then claimed from MYR1,140 (USD337) for transport costs and MYR7,000 Income. (USD2,071) for the cost of a right elbow replacement. Income’s civil case had initially been dismissed by a The appeal by Len Seng Omnibus Co. Bhd. against the magistrate’s court but, undeterred, the company took its High Court’s award was dismissed unanimously. case to the High Court on appeal, eventually becoming Source: Bernama Daily Malaysian News, 12 September 2006 the first insurance company to win such a case in a civil court. The company believes that one in five of the third- Court awarded millions to magicians for accident party property damage claims which it received last year injuries was fraudulent and that many third-party claims are inflated by repair workshops. Malaysia: The Sessions Court in Kuantan awarded Source: Straits Times , 12 October 2006 MYR8.75m (USD2.59m), one of the highest amounts every awarded for an accident claim in the history of the Biker’s death: Court reserves judgement country, to an American magician couple for injuries which they had suffered in a road accident in 1998. A Singapore: The Court of Appeal has reserved judgement truck had collided with a taxi in which the couple had until a later date in an unusual case in which the two been travelling. The Sessions Court ruled that the truck main witnesses are dead. The Court is faced with the driver, who had collided with the taxi, and his employer difficult task of deciding whether a motorcyclist killed in were liable for the accident. Due to limb injuries the a road accident had contributed to his own death. couple can no longer perform their act. Source: Associated Press Newswires, 20 May 2006 The accident took place in 2002 when the fifty-six-year- old managing director of the Singapore office of a multinational firm, who was riding his motorcycle along Clementi Road, collided with a double-decker SBS bus. 14 Gen Re The bus driver, then fifty-eight, was making a right turn Environmental Liability from Commonwealth Avenue West. The motorcyclist died on the spot. The traffic lights were on green in the motorcyclist’s favour, whereas for the bus driver an arrow Over 2,000 feared to have lead poisoning in China was indicating no right turn. China: Over 2,000 villagers of Hui County in Gansu Province fear that they may have lead poisoning. Many The bus driver was fined USD10,000 after he pleaded (including over 300 children) found that the level of lead guilty to having negligently caused the motorcyclist’s in their blood is several times greater than the safe level. death, though he has since died. The widow of the In August 2006, the Hui County authorities ordered the motorcyclist sued SBS Transit for damages in 2004, and local smelting factory to close and move to a safer in May 2006 the High Court ruled in her favour. The location. China News Services had earlier reported that amount will be assessed at a later date, but it is the smelting plant had been pumping out polluted understood that she is seeking close to USD3m. waste water and emitting dark fumes and thick clouds of dust. However, SBS Transit appealed, arguing that the motorcyclist should be held “contributory negligent” Lead poisoning can have a variety of adverse effects, from for the accident. nausea and insomnia to comas and impaired mental Source: Straits Times, 12 October 2006 development in children. Source: Agence France-Presse English Wire, Beijing, 6 September 2006 Accident victim sues motorist for USD250,000 Singapore: A woman, forty-nine, is suing a motorist for damages of more than USD250,000 following a collision which took place in 2004. The claimant, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered skull and spinal fractures after the car in which she was travelling was hit by the defendant’s car at a T-junction. She is no longer able to work and has developed eye disorders. The car in which the claimant was travelling was being driven by her daughter, who asserts that the lights were on green in her favour and that it was when she started turning into a slip road that the defendant’s car collided with hers. In March 2004 the defendant had been fined USD2,800 after admitting to ignoring a red light. However, during the civil court hearing he claimed that he had pleaded guilty because he was cash-strapped. A traffic police officer had allegedly told him that he would only be facing a maximum fine of USD3,000 if he did so. In addition, the defendant told the court that if he wished to contest the case he would need to hire a lawyer, which could cost him up to USD10,000. The defendant now claims that it is due to these factors that he had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. Source: Straits Times, 19 January 2007 Fifty-nine hurt in bus-on-bus collision Singapore: On 10 August 2006, a bus full of workers crashed into another bus picking up workers outside the Lakeside MRT station. Fifty-nine people were hurt. The stationary bus had been parked alongside the alighting bay outside the MRT station when it was hit from behind by the bus carrying the workers. Source: Straits Times, 11 August 2006 Asian Casualty Report, June 2007 15 Gen Re Directory Financial Centre San Francisco Riga 695 East Main Street Tel. +1 415 781 1700 Tel. +371 783 0107 Stamford, CT 06901, USA Seattle Vienna Tel. +1 203 328 5000 Tel. +1 206 682 7386 Tel. +43 1 536 860 Theodor-Heuss-Ring 11 St. Paul 50668 Cologne, Germany Africa Tel. +1 651 293 0075 Tel. +49 221 9738 0 Cape Town Toronto Tel. +27 21 412 7700 www.genre.com Tel. +1 416 869 0490 Johannesburg U.S./Canada Latin America Tel. +27 11 684 0300 Atlanta Buenos Aires Tel. +1 404 237 2555 Australia/ Tel. +54 11 4114 7000 New Zealand Boston Mexico City Auckland Tel. +1 617 728 3800 Tel. +52 55 9171 9200 Tel. +64 9 309 3638 Charlotte Melbourne Tel. +1 704 556 0910 Europe/Middle East Tel. +61 3 9628 4000 Beirut Chicago Tel. +961 1 999 888 Sydney Tel. +1 312 207 5300 Tel. +61 2 8236 6100 Copenhagen Columbus Tel. +45 33 33 7878 Tel. +1 614 221 7111 Asia Dublin Beijing Dallas Tel. +353 1 673 8500 Tel. +86 10 6517 1255 Tel. +1 214 691 3000 London Hong Kong Hartford Tel. +44 (0) 20 7426 6000 Tel. +852 2598 2388 Tel. +1 860 547 0200 Madrid Seoul Kansas City Tel. +34 91 308 3712 Tel. +82 2 750 8500 Tel. +1 913 345 2011 Manchester Shanghai Los Angeles Tel. +44 (0) 161 831 7555 Tel. +86 21 6100 6300 Tel. +1 213 630 1900 Milan Singapore Montreal Tel. +39 02 762 1181 Tel. +65 6438 7990 Tel. +1 514 288 9667 Moscow Taipei New York Tel. +7 495 589 1189 Tel. +886 2 8733 1252 Tel. +1 212 341 8000 Paris Tokyo Philadelphia Tel. +33 1 5367 7676 Tel. +81 3 3663 7447 Tel. +1 215 988 7100 Cologne Reinsurance Company plc. For additional information please contact: Singapore Branch Global Casualty Facultative (Singapore) 9 Raffles Place Yanbin Chen, Tel. +65 6438 7636, firstname.lastname@example.org #24-01 Republic Plaza Collin Sim, Tel. +65 6438 7632, email@example.com Singapore 048619 Inoon Nasir, Tel. +65 6438 7631, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +65 6438 7990 Nana Lech, Tel. +65 6438 7630, email@example.com Fax +65 6532 5838 www.genre.com This information was compiled by Gen Re and is intended to provide background information to our clients, as well as to our professional staff. The information Foto: © Mauritius Images/Brand X Pictures is time sensitive and may need to be revised and updated periodically. It is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own legal counsel © Kölnische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG, Cologne 2007 before relying on it.
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