71-year-old woman seeking S$30,000 from town council after falling into uncovered ditch in Bukit Panjang

The town council said the ditch was left uncovered to facilitate cleaning and to check for mosquito breeding.

Low Jia Ying | September 21, 2022, 06:17 PM

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A 71-year-old Singaporean woman is suing the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council for at least S$30,000 for negligence after she fell into an uncovered ditch last year, resulting in multiple injuries, according to Chinese media Lianhe Zaobao (Zaobao).

The woman is accusing the town council for failing to ensure the safety of the public area and for failing to cover the ditch.

Fell into ditch when watering flowers

The incident reportedly occurred at around 8:30am on Feb. 8, 2021, near Block 276 Bangkit Road in Bukit Panjang, reported Zaobao.

The woman, Chan Chui Yoke, was watering flowers near a lawn behind the HDB block.

On her way home, she then fell into the ditch, sustaining injuries as a result.

This included injuries to her face and feet, a severely torn ligament in her left foot and a fracture in her right middle finger.

Chan is claiming at least S$30,000 from the town council to cover her medical expenses and transportation costs.

Her case was heard in the state courts on Monday (Sep. 19).

Woman argued that signs should have been put up to warn residents

In her submissions, Chan said she believes her injuries were caused by the town council's negligence, and added that it had failed to ensure that all the ditches were covered and that the area near the ditches were safe.

Photo via Google Maps.

She said the town council should have also put up signs warning residents to be careful when passing by the uncovered ditches.

In their opening statements, the town council denied it was negligent, and said that the ditches were left uncovered to facilitate cleaning and to check for mosquito breeding.

Town council denies negligence, said woman should have been more careful

The town council added that drain covers in that area have been removed since it took over maintenance of the area after the constituency was divided in 2001.

It argued that the woman, who has been living in the estate for 30 years, would have been well aware of this situation.

It added that the woman would from time to time tend to the illegally-placed plants at the lawn, and should have therefore been aware that the portion of the ditch was uncovered.

The town council said the ditch was deliberately left uncovered, not because it was negligent, but because to do so was in line with the National Environment Agency's guidelines for mosquito breeding in public places.

It added that the woman had no reason to cross the ditch to get onto the lawn, and that the accident could have been avoided if she had been more careful.

The judge will issue a ruling at a later date.

Top photo via Lianhe Zaobao