Now, I know what you’re thinking: $13.6 million? No one deserves that much after a traffic accident.
But if you read on, you’ll definitely change your mind.
Negligent Driving Took Away Man’s Cognitive Function
On 19 Nov, 2014, at 8pm, Mr Christian Joachim Pollmann was cycling along Brickland Road in Bukit Batok.
Behind him was a driver, Ye Xianrong, who was filtering into another lane. He checked his blind spot, but failed to keep his eyes on the road ahead, and realised he was too close to Mr Pollman.
He jammed his brakes, but it was too late; he crashed into the 45-year-old Swiss national, throwing him off his bike.
Mr Pollman sustained serious head injuries as a result and spent six months in a hospital.
His injuries included:
- Cognitive damage
- Severe speech impairment
- Facial nerve damage causing abnormal movements
- Severe facial injuries that require reconstructive surgery
- Major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder
- Shoulder injuries
As for Ye, he pleaded guilty in 2016 to causing grievous hurt by a negligent act that endangers human life. He was fined S$5,000 and banned from driving for three years.
But that wasn’t all.
After year after Ye’s conviction, the High Court found Ye to be fully liable for Mr Pollmann’s injuries in a negligence suit.
Awarded S$13.6m in Damages
The High Court awarded over S$13.6 million in damages to the Swiss national last Monday.
According to The Straits Times, this is believed to be a record sum for personal injury claims.
Why such a large amount?
As a result of his severe head injuries, Mr Pollman’s speech is now severely impaired and he has to depend on a live-in caregiver.
The 45-year-old, who was the executive director of Swiss bank Julius Baer, will also likely never work again.
The largest portion of his payout – more than $9.3 million – was awarded for the loss of his future income.
If Mr Pollman hadn’t been involved in the accident, it was believed he would have earned around S$658,000 annually for the next 14 years, including an average bonus of 35% a year.
Justice Vinodh believed that the Swiss national would also have been promoted to managing director senior adviser last year if not for the accident.
In addition to his loss of salary, other damages awarded to Mr Pollman included future recurring medical expenses of around S$1.09 million and loss of pre-trial earnings of about S$1.54 million.
He will undergo three facial reconstruction operations – a tissue transfer, fat grafting, and face tightening – to correct facial asymmetry, and requires botox treatment twice a year to treat a nerve injury on his face.
The nerve injury causes his right eye to close involuntarily when he smiles or bites.
Due to his cognitive damage, Mr Pollman’s wife quit her S$9600-a-month job to care for him in the first four years after the accident, after which they hired a live-in caregiver.
The woman returned to work, but with a reduced salary.
The judge also ruled for the recovery of the woman’s loss of earnings, capped at S$1,000 a month, due to the pressure of caring for Mr Pollman and their two children, aged 8 and 10.
The damages will be borne by Ye’s insurers. They have paid S$3.1 million so far.
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