SMRT agrees to bear 95% liability for woman's bus fall that led to her going into a coma

Madam Ding Weibo hit her head on a seat in an SMRT bus and went into a coma in 2011.
Madam Ding Weibo hit her head on a seat in an SMRT bus and went into a coma in 2011. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Madam Ding Weibo's husband You Bujia and daughter Ding Xiao Sui arrive in the Supreme Court.
Madam Ding Weibo's husband You Bujia and daughter Ding Xiao Sui arrive in the Supreme Court.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Madam Ding Weibo's husband You Bujia (right) and his lawyer.
Madam Ding Weibo's husband You Bujia (right) and his lawyer.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
M Ezar M Hassan, the SMRT bus driver who caused Madam Ding to hit her head when he braked abruptly.
M Ezar M Hassan, the SMRT bus driver who caused Madam Ding to hit her head when he braked abruptly. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Transport operator SMRT Corporation has agreed to bear 95 per cent of the responsibility for a 2011 accident in which a woman went into a coma for weeks after she fell and hit her head on a bus when the driver braked abruptly.

Madam Ding Weibo, 58, who sued SMRT and former bus driver M Ezar M Hassan through her husband You Bujia as her legal representative, agreed to take 5 per cent of the blame.

Both sides reached the settlement on Tuesday (Nov 24). A one-day trial had originally been scheduled to take place as they had disputed the issue of liability.

Madam Ding wanted the defendants to be fully liable while the defendants said she should bear 20 per cent of the responsibility.

Mr You, 62, who was in court with their 30-year-old daughter, declined to state the specific amount he was seeking from SMRT, saying that he was leaving it to his lawyer. His lawyer, Mr Tito Isaac, said: "We are still in the midst of quantifying the damages."

Madam Ding was not in court. Mr You said that his wife, who fractured her skull in the fall, underwent two operations to her brain. She woke up from her coma after a few weeks. She is able to walk and talk slowly but has not gone out for the past four years apart from going downstairs to exercise, said Mr You.

The family of three, who are originally from China, are Singapore permanent residents and have lived here for more than 15 years.

Madam Ding and her daughter, Xiao Sui, had boarded bus service number 167 outside The Heeren shopping mall on Dec 18, 2011. The bus moved off as they were walking towards the available seats. When it came to an abrupt stop, Madam Ding lost her balance and hit her head against the metal bar of one of the seats.

Ezar was charged with causing grievous hurt by a negligent act. He was fined $4,500 after pleading guilty in January 2013.

Madam Ding's civil suit against SMRT and Ezar was filed last year.