RSAF helicopter pilot sues cabby for at least $4m after wrist injury in accident


SINGAPORE - A woman helicopter pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force is suing a taxi driver for injury damages of at least $4 million, including loss of future earnings, after a car accident in 2014 left her unable to fly.

Captain Teng Ling Ying, 32, was an AH-64D Apache helicopter pilot and after the accident on July 8, 2014, her injuries, including to her wrist, put an end to her flying career.

She accuses cabby Ng Chiang Eng of being negligent as he failed to adhere to the red light traffic signal at a junction in Changi and failed to properly control the taxi, among other alleged wrongdoings.

Capt Teng started her legal suit against Mr Ng in June last year, according to court documents.

Beside general damages that include future medical expenses, she is also claiming special damages such as medical, physiotherapy and transport expenses as well as pre-trial loss of earnings.

The special damages claims include $2,179,367 for loss of future earnings up till retirement from the RSAF at age 50 and $1,827,000 for loss of future earnings after retirement.

Along with other expenses and pre-trial loss of income, the special damages claimed totalled $4,072,134.

The general damages claimed were not stated in the court documents.

The High Court ordered in August last year (2017) that Mr Ng should bear full responsibility, with damages to be assessed later.

The accident took place at about 6.40am when Capt Teng was driving a van at the junction of Upper Changi Road East and Upper Changi Road North when a Comfort taxi collided into her vehicle.

Her wrist, neck, shoulder and head were injured.

She subsequently faced difficulties manipulating fine controls, gripping for prolonged periods, and wrist pain limiting her wrist and forearm movements.

A specialist assessed she could no longer be a pilot as she was unable to maintain the fine dexterity and strength required.

The specialist added that she has permanent wrist instability and should refrain from any activities that may load the wrist.

She has been redeployed as an air warfare officer since January last year (2017).

Capt Teng had appeared in a Ministry of Defence video in 2013 in which she introduced herself as an Apache pilot in 120 Squadron. She was at Exercise Wallaby, held in Australia.

In court papers, Mr Ng said he does not intend to contest his liability for causing the accident.

But he claimed that any loss or damage suffered by Capt Teng were caused by her own failure to act reasonably to mitigate such loss or damage by seeking suitable gainful employment and/or medical care.

The case is set to go on trial in October and November (2018).

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