Cyclist who wanted to sue PUB for negligence after wheel stuck in drain cover settles suit

He initially sought to claim at least S$578,000 in damages from PUB.

Low Jia Ying | September 07, 2022, 07:02 PM

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The case of a cyclist who was seriously injured after his bicycle wheel got stuck in a drain cover and who wanted to sue PUB for negligence took a turn on Wednesday (Sep. 7), after both sides decided to settle, according to Chinese media Shin Min Daily News.

The cyclist, 42-year-old Myanmar national Maung Maung Aung Soe Thu, had initially sought to sue PUB for at least S$578,000 in damages, according to The Straits Times.

Both parties decide to settle

On Wednesday, which was the second day of the hearing, both parties said they had agreed to settle the suit.

Both parties agreed to settle the case without finding either party liable for the damages, reported Shin Min.

Conditions of the settlement will also be kept confidential and will not be made public -- similar to a previous case where PUB and the plaintiff settled based on undisclosed terms.

Maung Maung will return to Myanmar on Sep. 9, after his case is concluded.

Cyclist: PUB breached duty of care

The three-day hearing, which started on Tuesday (Sep. 6) in the High Court, was to determine whether PUB was liable for what happened to Maung Maung.

On Tuesday, Maung Maung, who showed up to court with a limp and a walking stick, argued that PUB had breached its duty of care by failing to ensure that drain gratings along the road are safe for road users, according to ST.

According to Shin Min, he suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which is a head injury, multiple facial fractures, and trauma to the spine as a result of the accident.

He also has weakness in both his feet and right hand. Wounds from the accident had left him with scars as well.

Maung Maung's lawyer said PUB was negligent in how it constructed, installed and managed the drain, which caused or contributed to the accident, reported ST.

He said that PUB failed to ensure safety as the gaps in the drain grating were parallel to the road, and uniform.

He argued that therefore, PUB should be held fully liable for his client's accident.

PUB said it did not owe Maung Maung a duty of care, and denied that it was negligent.

It added that the probability of a cyclist suffering a moderate to serious injury from an accident involving a drain grating was 0.00001 per cent on an annual basis, and that the gap where his wheel got stuck was just 3cm.

PUB said if it were found to be liable for the accident, its functions as a statutory board will be "curtailed" as it would have to now "undertake the mammoth task" of inspecting and replacing more than one million gratings, according to ST.

PUB's lawyers also said, including this accident, there were only 12 verified incidents involving members of the public being injured due to drain gratings in the last 10 years since 2012.

PUB added that even if it was found to have breached its duty of care to Maung Maung, they argued that he was "contributorily negligent" as he chose to cycle on the road, instead of the park connector.

PUB made offer to cyclist before trial

In a statement on Wednesday, PUB said it had made Maung Maung an offer before the trial commenced, but he had declined it then:

"Following the commencement of the trial, and before PUB’s witness could give evidence, the Plaintiff decided to accept an earlier offer from the Defendant, the terms of which are confidential.

The offer was made before the trial, and the plaintiff chose not to accept then. PUB wishes him well in his rehabilitation."

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