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Parents settle daughter's motorcycle accident for $3.8m, says 'her dreams are shattered'

Parents settle daughter's motorcycle accident for $3.8m, says 'her dreams are shattered'
Ms Nuruljannah Razib's parents Mr Mohammad Razib Samsudin and Madam Anisah Salim said the money will help provide care for their daughter for the rest of her life
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - She was a paramedic trainee who loved to travel, play the guitar and piano, and do cartwheels.

But ever since a motorcycle accident in 2019, in which the bike she travelled on collided with another, Ms Nuruljannah Razib is minimally conscious and requires round-the-clock care at her family home.

Earlier this month, a court approved a settlement payout of $3.8 million to her parents, who were acting on her behalf. Both riders involved had earlier accepted the full blame in a negligence lawsuit and their insurers will pay the compensation.

The amount is believed to be among the highest reported settlements in a motorcycle accident claim here.

Her parents, Mr Mohammad Razib Samsudin and Madam Anisah Salim, both 53, said that the money will help them and their children provide care for their daughter for the rest of her life.

Speaking to The Sunday Times in their five-room flat in Pasir Ris last week, Madam Anisah, a primary school art teacher, said: "Her dreams are shattered. She loved to travel. She went to Europe and said she wanted to take me to the Louvre… It's heartrending for us parents. But our focus now is on helping her."

In May last year, a High Court judge apportioned 70 per cent liability to Ms Nuruljannah's former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) colleague, motorcyclist Calvin Loo, then 23, and 30 per cent to the second defendant See Toh Yew Mun, then 48.

Ms Nuruljannah's parents were represented by lawyers Michael Han and Jamie Neo from Hoh Law Corporation. Mr Han told ST: "Nuruljannah is receiving the best care any child can ever ask for, and that is for us the defining high point of this entire legal process."

At the time of the accident, Ms Nuruljannah, now 25, was a pillion rider on a motorcycle driven by Mr Loo in Bartley Road East on Feb 11, 2019.

The two motorcycles collided near the slip road towards Kaki Bukit Avenue 4 in the direction of Tampines Avenue 10.

Although she was wearing a helmet, Ms Nuruljannah suffered traumatic brain injury and critical skull fractures in addition to injuries to her spine, hands and face. She was warded for 316 days at Changi General Hospital.

Her mother, who recalled sleepless nights at the hospital for two weeks, said: "The doctors said it was time to call relatives and friends. She had three days left. It was heartrending. They said she wasn't showing good signs, so our friends and family and her friends came for prayers and she made it through."

The option of putting their daughter in a home was never a serious consideration.

"She said she would never send her grandma to a nursing home, she would take care of her; so how could we do that to her?" said Mr Razib, visibly upset as he spoke.

His wife recalled: "She had also told me that she would take care of me (when I was old)."

Their flat has been converted into what the family calls Ward 555 - a play on the block number. Ramps were installed, doors were widened, and wheelchairs and other machinery brought in to hoist Ms Nuruljannah out of bed and help her with rehabilitation. These now occupy most of the space in the living room.

Renovations to the flat to accommodate her heavy medical equipment cost $11,000, and the parents estimate that close to an additional $7,000 a month is spent to care for their daughter, not including hospital visits.

When asked if Ms Nuruljannah knows what is happening, Mr Razib, a leather craftsman, said: "We hope so. There isn't a clear indication, but doctors say patients like her may somehow just be aware."

He added that they had established a communication system, with their daughter blinking twice for "yes": "I'll say 'Jannah Jannah, this is baba' and we'll give her a while and then she blinks."

Ms Nuruljannah, who has an older brother, 27, and a younger sister, 21, had six months left to complete her SCDF paramedic training when the accident occurred.

When asked about her feelings towards Mr Loo, who was riding the bike her daughter was on, Madam Anisah said: "Of course I'm upset that it happened, but being angry would take a toll on me because I know that nothing can be done to change this situation. Whatever we do now is to help her recover and (being angry) doesn't equate to helping her recover. And she needs a lot of help."

She added that the family is continually praying and giving their all to help her daughter on her long road to recovery.

"We will not give up hope," said Madam Anisah.

The accident

Ms Nuruljannah Mohammad, then 22, and SCDF full-time national serviceman Calvin Loo who was riding the motorbike, were on their way to a work-related event on Feb 11, 2019, when they collided with another motorcycle in Bartley Road East.

Ms Nuruljannah was unconscious when she was taken to Changi General Hospital, while Mr Loo and the motorcyclist were conscious.

Both men suffered injuries to their body and limbs, said the SCDF then.

Ms Nuruljannah and Mr Loo were attached with the Paya Lebar Fire Station at the time.

Mr Loo was discharged from hospital on Feb 14 that year.

Past road traffic accidents with large payouts

$1.64 million payout to 13-year-old boy knocked down by car in 2011

The judge ruled that he was entitled to damages that take into account his life till the retirement age of 62, despite a medical forecast that his life expectancy would be shortened to 38.

The boy, then nine, suffered severe traumatic brain injury when he was knocked down at a signalised pedestrian crossing in Jurong East Avenue 1 on July 6, 2011. The irreparable brain damage left him bedridden, requiring constant care. His mother quit her job as a receptionist in a law firm to look after him full-time.

$1.14 million in damages given to family of motorcyclist killed in bus crash

The High Court in July last year awarded the damages to the family after the victim, a Malaysian and permanent resident here, died in November 2015.

His motorcycle collided with a bus in Tuas West Road.

The bus was coming from the opposite direction when it turned right, encroaching into the motorcyclist's path.

His wife, who was riding pillion, suffered multiple fractures.

His family sued the bus driver and the company that owned the bus for damages.

ALSO READ: Malaysian student's accident in Woodlands leaves him with multiple fractures and an exorbitant hospital bill

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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