SINGAPORE -The High Court paid over $13.6 million in damages to a Swiss national who sustained traumatic brain injury after a vehicle collided with his bicycle.
It’s thought to be a personal injury settlement record.
Mr Christian Joachim Pollmann, 45, the executive director of Swiss bank Julius Baer, was critically injured and now needs a live-in caregiver and will likely never operate again.Mr Pollmann, a married father of two girls, was cycling along Brickland Road in Bukit Batok at 8 p.m. on November 19, 2014, when Ye Xianrong’s car crashed into him from behind.
Ye, 36, was searching his blind spot for traffic before filtering into another lane, according to a High Court judgment released in October 2017. He got too close to the cyclist because he failed to keep a watch ahead. When he realized they were about to crash, he slammed on his brakes, but it was too late.
Mr Pollmann was thrown off his bike, suffering severe head injuries and spending six months in the hospital.Ye pleaded guilty in 2016 to causing Mr Pollmann grievous bodily harm as a result of a reckless act endangering human life. He was fined $5,000 and given a three-year driving ban.
In a negligence suit a year later, the High Court held Ye entirely responsible for Mr Pollmann’s injuries. The loss of potential revenue, which totaled more than $9.3 million, was the largest portion of the damages awarded to Mr Pollmann by Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy on Monday.
Mr Pollmann’s neurosurgeon advised the judge that because of his disabilities, he can’t do more than one job or individual at a time, and even manual labor is difficult for him because he can’t recall all.Mr Pollmann, who lives in Singapore, would have been elevated to managing director senior advisor last year if the accident had not occurred, according to Justice Vinodh.
Mr Pollmann would have received about $658,000 a year for the next 14 years, according to Justice Vinodh, assuming a 35 percent annual bonus.
Other damages paid to Mr Pollmann included $1.09 million in additional recurring medical costs and $1.54 million in lost pre-trial earnings.Mr Pollmann requires botox twice a year to treat a facial nerve injury that causes his right eye to close involuntarily when he smiles or bites. To fix facial asymmetry, he will have three facial reconstruction procedures: tissue transfer, fat grafting, and face tightening.
Owing to his cognitive impairment, he has a live-in caregiver who helps him with day-to-day activities.
Mr Pollmann’s speech therapy costs were not allowed to be recovered by Justice Vinodh because he believed it would be futile considering the seriousness of his speech disability.
Mr Pollmann’s injuries
Serious brain injuries causing cognitive damage
• Severe speech impairment
• Facial nerve damage causing abnormal movements
• Severe facial injuries that require reconstructive surgery
• Major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder
• Tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears)
• Shoulder injuries
Breakdown of award
Loss of future income
Pre-trial loss of earnings
Recurring future medical expenses including botox and psychotherapy
One-off future medical expenses including plastic surgery procedures and physiotherapy sessions
Special damages including medical expenses incurred in Switzerland and professional nursing costs
Pain and suffering
Mrs Pollmann’s pre-trial loss of earnings
Source: The Straits Times