Ong Jin Choon v Lim Hin Hock and Another

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeL P Thean J
Judgment Date07 June 1988
Neutral Citation[1988] SGHC 50
Citation[1988] SGHC 50
Defendant CounselMichael Kuah (Lee & Lee),Benedict Chan (Goh Poh & Partners)
Plaintiff CounselBala Chandran (Mallal & Namazie)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberSuit No 750 of 1982
Date07 June 1988
Subject MatterCausation,Tort,Damages,Dispute on liability,Assessment,Negligence,Relevant period for quantification of damages,Road accident,Computation of actual loss of earnings,Director of company incapacitated and unable to work

Cur Adv Vult

On 5 March 1979 at about 4pm, the plaintiff was waiting for a taxi at the taxi stand in front of the then Singapore Turf Club at Cecil Street. The taxi stand was on the right side of Cecil Street, if one faces the direction of Cross Street and the Multi-Storey Car Park at Cecil Street/Market Street. Cecil Street was at the material time, and is, a one-way street with traffic travelling from Anson Road towards Cross Street and the Multi-Storey Car Park. At the taxi stand, there was a metal railing, and the plaintiff at the time was standing at the front exit looking towards his left from which direction the vehicles were coming. While standing there and waiting for a taxi he saw two vehicles, a taxi and a motorcycle, coming towards him. The taxi was travelling on the second lane (from his side) and the motorcycle was travelling on the right side of the taxi and on the first lane. According to him, the motorcycle was travelling abreast with the taxi. When the taxi was about 20 metres from the plaintiff it swerved to the right towards the taxi stand and collided with the motorcycle and the impact in turn caused the motorcycle to collide with the plaintiff, in consequence of which the plaintiff sustained severe injuries on his left leg. The motorcycle was ridden by the first defendant and the taxi was driven by the second defendant.

The plaintiff brought this action against both the defendants for damages for negligence.
His claim was that the collision was caused either solely by the negligence of the first defendant or the second defendant or by the negligence of both of them. Before me the parties agreed on the following: (a) a sum of $9,471.03 as special damages which consisted mainly of medical expenses, and (b) a sum of $17,500.00 as general damages, leaving for trial only two issues, namely, liability and, if any, actual loss of earnings sustained by the plaintiff. At the conclusion of the trial, I held that on the first issue both the defendants were liable to the plaintiff and that the first defendant was one-third to blame and the second defendant two-thirds to blame for the accident, and on the second issue the plaintiff had sustained actual loss of earnings and awarded him a sum of $48,629.19 for the period from the date of accident to 15 July 1980. I therefore gave judgment for the plaintiff in the total sum of $75,600.22 with interest thereon at 6% pa from 1 April 1984 to the date thereof and with costs to the plaintiff, and made the usual consequential orders.

On the issue of liability the dispute was mainly between the first defendant and the second defendant; there was no dispute that either of the defendants or both of them were liable to the plaintiff, the innocent bystander, who sustained injuries arising from the collision between the first defendant`s motorcycle and the second defendant`s taxi.
Each of the defendants disputed that the accident was caused or contributed by him. Both the defendants gave evidence.

The first defendant said that at the material time just before the accident he was travelling along Cecil Street from Anson Road.
He was on the second lane from the right close to lane one and he saw the taxi driven by the second defendant. The taxi was also on the second lane and the first defendant was slightly behind the taxi. Before reaching the taxi stand where the plaintiff was standing, both the taxi and the motorcycle stopped at the junction of Cecil Street and McCallum Street as the traffic light was red. When the light turned green both the vehicles moved forward. There was a vehicle, a motor van, parked on the first lane before the taxi stand. After passing the motor van, the first defendant swerved slightly to the right and was entering the first lane. At that moment, the taxi suddenly swerved to the right heading towards the taxi stand. The first defendant swerved and applied the brakes but he could not avoid the collision, as a result of which he `was flung off` his motorcycle which then collided with the plaintiff who was at the taxi stand. He said that the motor van was parked at a distance of about seven to eight car lengths from the taxi stand and that in swerving right the taxi did not give any indication at all; the taxi was slightly ahead of him and he could see the rear lights of the taxi. He was then travelling at a speed between 35 km and 40 km per hour.

The second defendant in his evidence said that on that day at about 4pm he picked up three passengers at the World Trade Centre and was instructed to go to the Singapore Turf Club office at Cecil Street.
He proceeded along Telok Blangah to Anson Road and then to Cecil Street. At the junction of Cecil Street and McCallum Street he stopped as the traffic light was red. He did not notice the motorcycle ridden by the first defendant. He was then on the second lane. When the traffic light turned green he moved forward intending to go to the taxi stand. He saw a motor van parked on the right about ten metres from the taxi stand. He had turned on the indicator showing that he was moving right towards the taxi stand. After he had passed the motor van and as he was swerving to the first lane towards the taxi stand, a motorcycle...

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4 cases
  • Khoo Ih Chu v Chong Hoe Siong Jeremy
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 30 d3 Agosto d3 1989
    ......The defendant referred to the case of Ong Jin Choon v Lim Hin Hock [1988] 3 MLJ 137 as authority for the proposition that a plaintiff who was entitled ...It is one thing to say that a plaintiff should not be paid twice over; it is another to say that a defendant is entitled to insist that a plaintiff must exercise his contractual rights ......
  • Au Yeong Wing Loong v Chew Hai Ban and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 24 d4 Junho d4 1993
    ......The plaintiff relies on the case of Ong Jin Choon v Lim Hin Hock & Anor , and says, the plaintiff`s employer expects to be repaid. It is therefore proper that the sum paid as wages should be ......
  • Minichit Bunhom v Jazali bin Kastari
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 27 d5 Abril d5 2018
    ...Construction Pte Ltd [2016] 4 SLR 521 (refd) Ng Huat Seng v Munib Mohammad Madni [2017] 2 SLR 1074 (refd) Ong Jin Choon v Lim Hin Hock [1988] 1 SLR(R) 559; [1988] SLR 588 (distd) Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District v Croydon Corp [1957] 2 QB 154 (distd) Singapore Airlines Ltd v Ta......
  • Lim Hin Hock v Ong Jin Choon
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 27 d3 Fevereiro d3 1991
    ...the plaintiff a sum of $48,629.19 representing special damages for loss of earnings during the period he was incapacitated. (See [1988] 1 SLR (R) 559.) 2 The first defendant had appealed against that part of the judgment of L P Thean J which held that he was liable to the extent of one-thir......
1 books & journal articles
  • Tort Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2018, December 2018
    • 1 d6 Dezembro d6 2018
    ...2009 Rev Ed) Fourth Schedule, Pt IV. 108 See, for example, Lim Kiat Boon v Lim Seu Kong [1980] 2 MLJ 39; Ong Jin Choon v Lin Hin Hock [1988] 1 SLR(R) 559; and Au Leong Wing Loong v Chew Hai Bun [1993] 2 SLR(R) 290. 109 [2018] SGDC 175. 110 See para 26.116 above. 111 See paras 26.41–26.49 ab......

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