Tan Ching Shuon, Kelvin v Azli Bin Omar and another (NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited, Intervener)

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgePatrick Tay Wei Sheng
Judgment Date24 May 2021
Neutral Citation[2021] SGDC 71
Citation[2021] SGDC 71
Docket NumberDistrict Court Suit No 1396 of 2017, Assessment of Damages No 647 of 2018
Hearing Date08 January 2020,26 March 2021,20 February 2020,26 February 2021
Published date04 June 2021
Plaintiff CounselBay Thiam Hock Stanley (Oracle Law Corporation)
Defendant CounselSecond Defendant in person,Chua Tong Nung Edwin (Lawrence Chua Practice LLC)
Subject MatterDamages,Measure of damages,Personal injuries cases,Special damages,Medical expenses,Medishield Life Fund paid for medical expenses,Whether rule against double recovery precluded plaintiff from recovering medical expenses,Plaintiff's employer paid for medical expenses
Deputy Registrar Patrick Tay Wei Sheng:

The plaintiff suffered personal injury in an accident caused by the defendants. Much of the medical expenses he incurred did not involve direct expenditure on his part. Instead, these expenses were paid by four entities: Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (“SPH”), Shenton Insurance Pte Ltd (“Shenton”), AIA Singapore Private Limited (“AIA”), and the Medishield Life Fund administered by the Central Provident Fund Board and the Ministry of Health (“Medishield”). Still, the plaintiff seeks to recover these expenses from the defendants as damages, even as he undertakes to reimburse Medishield and AIA insofar as the law requires him to do so.

Interlocutory judgment was entered against the second defendant in default of her appearance. Thereafter, the insurers of the defendants’ vehicle, NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative Limited, who are liable to satisfy any judgment in respect of personal injury entered against the defendants pursuant to the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act (Cap 189, 2000 Rev Ed), intervened in these proceedings. The plaintiff and the intervener then attended at the assessment of damages on 8 January 2020. The second defendant did not attend this hearing.

On 20 February 2020, the plaintiff and the intervener attended before me for the delivery of my judgment. The second defendant also attended for the first time in these proceedings and stated that she was an undischarged bankrupt. I stayed these proceedings and directed the parties to seek clarification from the Official Assignee (“OA”) on the status of these proceedings and to update the court thereafter.

On 21 January 2021, the plaintiff and the intervener replied to confirm that the OA had no objections to the bringing of these proceedings against the second defendant. This was even as the second defendant would have required the prior sanction of the OA to defend these proceedings. On 26 February and 26 March 2021, parties made submissions on and satisfied the court that final judgment could be entered against the second defendant. I thus deliver my judgment.

General damages

I begin with the general damages for personal injury: damages for pain and suffering and damages for loss of earning capacity. The submissions of the plaintiff and of the intervener are aligned as to the quantum of these damages. The second defendant did not make any submissions on the quantum of these damages. I find that the submissions of the plaintiff and the intervener are reasonable and assess damages accordingly.

For pain and suffering, I assess damages as follow: Neck injury: $5,000; Rotator cuff injury: $3,000; and Back injury (disc prolapse): $12,000.

For loss of earning capacity, I assess damages at $5,000.

This gives a total of $25,000 in general damages.

Special damages

The plaintiff and the intervener are aligned as to the special damages in respect of transport expenses and medical expenses, both of which were paid by plaintiff out of his own pocket. The second defendant made no submission on these damages. I find that the quantum of these damages as claimed by the plaintiff is reasonable and assess damages accordingly as follow: Transport expenses: $300.00; and Medical expenses paid by the plaintiff: $6,926.32.

I turn to the medical expenses that were paid by SPH, Shenton, Medishield, and AIA. The plaintiff seeks to recover these expenses as special damages in these proceedings. The intervener disagrees and submits that these expenses should not be recoverable as damages because they did not involve out-of-pocket expenditure on the part of the plaintiff. In the alternative, the intervener submits that the damages should be paid not to the plaintiff but to the entities that paid for the medical...

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