Man sues town council after being paralysed by fall

A man is suing his town council for damages after he slipped and fell near his block.

The Straits Times reported that Aw Kian Chow was walking back to his flat in Block 415, Sembawang Drive on a wet evening in August 2008 when he slipped on a sloping ramp near his block.

Mr Aw fractured his spine and became paralysed from the neck down and is now seeking compensation for medical expenses, loss of future earnings and transport costs; loss of pre-trial earnings, pain and suffering.

The 46-year-old is suing Sembawang Town Council for alleged negligence as he claims it did not lay down non-slip material or paint the surface of the walkway to prevent falls.

He backed up his case with the Town Councils Act which states a town council has a duty to maintain common property such as sheltered walkways and keep these in good, clean condition.

The town council, represented by Khat-tar Wong Partnership, is contesting the suit claiming that Mr Aw failed to use the handrails while on the walkway as this would have reduced the risk of a fall.

The mishap was thus solely caused or contributed to by Mr Aw himself, it reportedly said.

However, the sheltered walkway on the ramp and the handrails on either side of it were wet with rain at the time of the fall, which brings up the issue of whether the council had done all it could to prevent slipping and falling.

Mr Aw is currently still bedridden and cannot speak. He needs life support equipment, regular hospital care and caregivers attend to him every three hours to drain out mucus and other fluids.

He therefore cannot be employed.

The amount Mr Aw is seeking has not been released but High Court claims start at $250,000.