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ACP Singapore - Accidents Cheat Sheet by

Accidents procedure and claim
law

Claim for damages

Special Damages - Pre-Trial Pecuniary loss

General Damages - Non-pe­cuniary loss and post-trial pecuniary loss
Purpose is to compensate not punish
Aim is to put the injured party in the same position he would have been if he had not suffered the wrong
Burden of proof lies on party claiming loss

Types of Damages

Special Damages

Special damages can be easily quantified – usually out of pocket expenses/ losses already incurred
Costs of repair of damaged property
Costs of replacing destroyed property
Medical bills
Hospit­ali­sation bills
Transport costs

General Damages

Pecuniary (Post-­trial)
Non-pe­rcu­niary (pre and post trial)
Future Expenses
Pain and Suffering
Loss of Future Earnings
Loss of Amenities
Loss of Earning Capacity
Loss of Expect­ation of Life

Quanti­fying future expenses

E.g. future transport expenses, future nursing care expenses

Multiplier and multip­licand approach

Multip­licand – proof required on the extent and necessity of such expenses
Multiplier – depends on circum­stances prevailing at date of trial e.g. Plaint­iff’s age, type of job, length of working life and length in which expenses are required.
Discounted for contin­gencies and for present value
No interest awarded for future expenses

Quanti­fying Loss of Future Earnings

Compensate for reduction in existing earning capacity as a result of the disability suffered
Multip­licand – Difference between pre-ac­cident income and present income on an annual basis less necessary deductions for income tax
Multiplier – number of years the Plaintiff will suffer the loss of earning capacity
Discounted for contin­gencies and for present value
No interest awarded for loss of earning capacity

Loss of future earnings not awarded where:
(a) Plaint­iff’s income at time of assessment is the same or more than his pre-ac­cident income
(b) there is no measurable annual loss

Quanti­fying Loss of Earning Capacity

Compen­sates for risk of loss of present employment and the consequent disadv­antage in competing in the labour market for another equally well-p­aying job

Usually awarded where:
(a) at time of trial, the Plaintiff suffered no loss of earnings but if he were to lose employment he would be at a disadv­antage
(b) there is no evidence of the Plaint­iff’s earnings for the Court to calculate loss of future earnings e.g. where party is a young child

Court will take into account factors relating to the Plaintiff and his earning capacity
Personal factors: Plaint­iff’s age, gender, skills and training, nature of Plaint­iff’s disabi­lities
Earning Capacity: Type of job pre-ac­cident, the general employment situation for this type of job, the kind of jobs Plaintiff can hold at present or in future and the earnings he can command.
Court will award a lump sum “in the round” repres­enting this loss of earning capacity
No deduction of income tax
No interest awarded for future expenses
Generally Court will NOT award both loss of future earnings and loss of earning capacity
When deciding on the quantum for loss of earning capacity, the Court will take into account that an award for loss of future earnings has already been made

Quanti­fyiing Lost years

AOD v AOE [2015]­ 2 ­SGH­C 272
Plaintiff was 9 years old at time of car accident.
Became quadri­plegic who requires constant care.
Life expectancy reduced to 38 years of age.

Held :
Living Plaintiff can make a “lost years” claim
Working life = 16 years (38-22)
Multiplier = 9 years
Multip­licand = $1,723.24
“lost years” = 24 years (62-38)
Multiplier = 8 years
Multip­licand = $1,723.24 x 40%

Quanti­fying Pain and Suffering

Approach to Quanti­fic­ation
1. Identify types of injury by reviewing the medical report
2. Understand the severity of the injury from the medical report e.g. possible disability
3. Look up range value in preced­ents: See Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Lawnet (Damages for Personal Injuries)
4. Consider effect of multiple injuries: Global or component approaches

What if there are multiple injuries?
Court may adopt one of the following approaches :
(a) Global Approach: Award a total amount to cover all injuries
(b) Component Approach: Award separate amounts for each injury claimed
(c) Mixed Approach: Award separate amounts for each injury claimed and match the total against a global award

Whether the injuries are related to the same part of function of the body will be a key factor in determ­ining which approach is to be used.

Quanti­fying Loss of Amenities

Compen­sates claimant’s inability to pursue the same activities which he used to before his disability
E.g. change in person­ality, unable to pursue leisure activi­ties, loss of marriage prospects
Pain and Suffering and Loss of Amenities usually quantified together
Loss of Amenities only quantified separately in extreme cases e.g. total blindness, paraplegia

Quanti­fying Loss of Expect­ation of Life

Not separately assessed but part of the total award for pain and suffering

Section 11 Civil Law Act
Abolition of right to damages for loss of expect­ation of life
11. —(1)  In any action for damages for personal injuries, no damages shall be recove­rable in respect of any loss of expect­ation of life caused to the injured person by the injuries, except that if the injured person’s expect­ation of life has been reduced by the injuries, the court, in assessing damages in respect of pain and suffering caused by the injuries, shall take into account any suffering caused or likely to be caused to him by awareness that his expect­ation of life has been so reduced.
(2)  In subsec­tio­n (1), any reference to damages in respect of loss of expect­ation of life does not include damages in respect of loss of income.

INTEREST AWARDED

SPECIAL DAMAGES
GENERAL DAMAGES
3% per annum from date of accident to date of trial
Loss of Amenities, Pain and suffering - 5.33% per annum from date of service of writ to date of trial
 
Everything else - no interest awarded
 

Quanti­fic­ation for fatal accident claims

Estate Claim
Dependency Claim
The Deceased's estate may sue the wrongdoer in place of deceased as he would if he had not died
Depend­ant's of deceased sue wrongdoer for financial loss suffered as a result of the death of deceased

Estate vs Dependency Claim

Estate Claim

Claim for loss of expect­ation of life
NO claim for "lost years"
Claim for Special Damages
Claim for General Damages
  
Medical expenses
Pain and suffering
  
Transp­ort­ation Expenses
Loss of Amenities

What is a dependant?

Section 20(8) Civil Law Act
In this section, “depen­dant” means —
(a) the wife or husband or former wife of the deceased;
(b) any parent, grandp­arent or great-­gra­ndp­arent of the deceased;
(c) any child, grandchild or great-­gra­ndchild of the deceased;
(d) any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, in the case of any marriage to which the deceased was at any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that marriage;
(e) any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased.

Possible dependency claims

Pecuniary Losses
Bereav­ement
Funeral Expenses

Pecuniary Loss

Multiplier and Multip­licand Approach
Deduct deceased's expenses from his net income: Balance is presumably for his dependants

Bereav­ement

Parties who can claim for bereav­ement
Section 21 Civil Law Act
21. —(2)  A claim for damages for bereav­ement shall only be for the benefit of such of the following persons as survive the deceased:
(a) the wife or husband of the deceased;
(b) where there is no spouse by or for whom a claim can be made under paragr­aph­ (a), the children of the deceased;
(c) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragr­aph (a) or (b), the parents of the deceased or, if the deceased was illegi­timate, his mother;
(d) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragr­aph­ (a), (b) or (c), but the deceased was at the date of his death a minor, any person who during any marriage to which that person was a party treated the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that marriage; or
(e) where there is no other person by or for whom a claim can be made under this subsec­tion, any brother or sister of the deceased.

Section 21 Civil Law Act
(3)  The right of a person to claim under this section for damages for bereav­ement shall not survive for the benefit of his estate.
(4)  S­ubject to subsec­tio­n (6), the sum to be awarded as damages under this section shall be $15,000.
(5)  Where there is a claim for damages under this section for the benefit of 2 or more persons, the sum awarded shall be divided equally between them (subject to any deduction falling to be made in respect of costs not recovered from the defend­ant).
(6)  The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, substitute the sum specified in subsec­tio­n (4) with such other sum as he thinks fit.

Funeral Expenses

Section 22(4) Civil Law Act
 If the dependants have incurred funeral expenses in respect of the deceased, damages may be awarded in respect of those expenses.
Claimed as special damages and has to be partic­ula­rised
 

Limitation on Action

Limitation Act (Cap.163)

Section 24A(1) read with Section 24A(3)(a)
Any action for damages for neglig­ence, nuisance or breach of duty
Where the damages claimed do not include personal injury claims, the action shall not be brought after the expiration of the period of 6 years from the date on which the cause of action accrued

Section 24A(1) read with Section 24A(2)
Any action for damages for neglig­ence, nuisance or breach of duty
Where the damages claimed consist of or include damages in respect of personal injuries to the plaintiff or any other person, shall not be brought after the expiration of —
(a) 3 years from the date on which the cause of action accrued; or
(b) 3 years from the earliest date on which the plaintiff has the knowledge required for bringing an action for damages in respect of the relevant injury, if that period expires later than the period mentioned in paragr­aph­ (a).

Section 24A(4)
(5)  K­now­ledge that any act or omission did or did not, as a matter of law, involve neglig­ence, nuisance or breach of duty is irrelevant for the purposes of subsec­tio­ns (2) and (3).
(6)  For the purposes of this section, a person’s knowledge includes knowledge which he might reasonably have been expected to acquire —
(a) from facts observable or ascert­ainable by him; or
(b) from facts ascert­ainable by him with the help of approp­riate expert advice which it is reasonable for him to seek.
(7)  A person shall not be taken by virtue of sub-se­ction (6) to have knowledge of a fact ascert­ainable only with the help of expert advice so long as he has taken all reasonable steps to obtain (and, where approp­riate, to act on) that advice.

Preaction protocols

Special pre-action claim procedure applies for non-injury motor accidents (NIMA)
In the interest of saving time and costs
Depending on the quantum of the claim, the following applicable protocol should be complied with:
FIDReC Pre-action Protocol (low level NIMA claims)
Non-injury Motor Accident (NIMA) Pre-action Protocol
Personal Injury Claims Pre-Action Protocol

What to do be4 commencing formal claim

FIDReC Pre-action Protocols

Pre-action Protocol for Management of Low-Value Non-injury Motor Accident Cases by the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC)

This protocol applies to non-injury motor accident claims where:
Quantum of damages before apport­ionment of liability is below $3,000 excluding survey fees, interests, costs and disbur­sem­ents; and
Defendant is claiming under his policy i.e. against the insurer

NIMI pre-action protocols

Pre-action Protocol for Non-injury Motor Accident (NIMA) Cases

This protocol applies to:
NIMA claims of $3,000 and above

Personal Injury Claim Pre-action Protocols

The object of this protocol is to streamline the management of personal injury claims and promote early settlement of such claims.
It prescribes a framework for pre-writ negoti­ation and exchange of inform­ation.

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