SINGAPORE - He had come to Singapore from China more than seven years ago hoping to give his wife, two teenage children and elderly parents a better life.
The Henan province native was doing well, drawing a monthly income of about $3,000 as a construction worker.
But an industrial accident three years ago meant Mr Cao Zhi Jiang, 44, can no longer earn a living as a construction worker, or by doing any other work that requires physical exertion.
Mr Cao took two of the sub-contractors in charge of the worksite to court for his injuries and loss of earnings as a result.
On Thursday , the last day of the three-day hearing, the lawsuit involving him and sub-contractors AVA Global and Ou Yaxiang, from Sing Fu Engineering Works, and main contractor Low Keng Huat was settled out of court with a compensation of $200,000.
10 times more
This is more than 10 times the amount Mr Cao, represented by Mr N. Srinivasan from Hoh Law Corporation, could claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act - $18,000.
Court documents showed that on Nov 25, 2010, Mr Cao was asked to do some repair work on a linkway roof near the then-incomplete Nex shopping mall.
But a fall off a ladder from a height of 2m left him with a head injury so serious that he had to be taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for emergency treatment.
Two days after the fall, Mr Cao had an operation called a decompressive bifrontal craniectomy done at the National Neuroscience Institute, to remove the front part of his skull.
He was then transferred to Ang Mo Kio Hospital for rehabilitation, and discharged on March 5, 2011.