Source: The Straits Times, Wednesday 21 September 2011
A former Singapore Girl is suing the national airline over a back injury that has forced her to quit her S$3,500 a month job and settle for one pay S$826 a month back in her hometown.
According to the news report, a high court pre-trial conference was held and heard her application for the case to be transferred to the High Court. The claimant claimed the loss of future earnings and career prospects, when calculated would bust the S$250,000 ceiling on payouts made in the subordinate courts. It was mentioned that the insurer have subsequently left off pursuing the dispute on liability, intending to thrash out the amount the claimant was to get in the subordinate court. The lower court held SIA 100 per cent liable for the claimant’s injury.
It was reported while the claimant was lifting luggage into a compartment, a passing passenger in the aisle knocked into her and her lower back was apparently twisted. Afterwhich, she had to go on long medical leave, took annual leave and also no pay leave. A specialist medical report ruled out strenuous work and a return to her job as stewardess.
The law firm representing the airline’s insurer in the case is contesting the claimant’s move and will be vigorously contesting the shift to the high court. It was reported that there will be another pre-trial conference to be held in October 2011.
The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) allows:
- employees who have sustained injuries in a work-related accident or contracted an occupational disease to claim work injury compensation.
- dependants of employees who died in a work-related accident are also eligible for compensation.
- claimable compensation includes medical leave wages, medical expenses and permanent incapacity or death.
Unlike civil claims, compensation is generally payable under the Act regardless of whether the employer is at fault, as long as the employee had suffered an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment or had contracted an occupational disease as defined under the Act. The compensation benefits are computed based on fixed formulae and capped under the Act.
Once an employee decides to pursue his claim under the Act, he will generally no longer be able to lodge a civil claim against his employer for damages.
We understand that there are many cases whereby the injured worker chose to file civil law suit against their employer to claim damages for a work related injuries. Under civil law, the maximum claim for subordinate court is S$250,000 and if the injured worker file a claim exceeding this amount, the case will be transfered to the high court, which starts at S$250,000. At TIB, we have effective negotiators who will ensure that our clients receive a fair decision and outcome for claims.