Woman who sought $3.3 million for knee fracture in fall gets $9,000 in court award

Briton Pamela Mykytowych had suffered a fractured left knee when she slipped and fell on the wet floor of the VIP Hotel lobby near Newton MRT in May 2011. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
Briton Pamela Mykytowych had suffered a fractured left knee when she slipped and fell on the wet floor of the VIP Hotel lobby near Newton MRT in May 2011. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - A woman who sought some $3.3 million damages in probably "the most expensive knee injury ever claimed" will have to settle for $9,000 after the High Court was not convinced she could not walk or work as before.

Briton Pamela Mykytowych had suffered a fractured left knee when she slipped and fell on the wet floor of the VIP Hotel lobby near Newton MRT in May 2011.

The hotel accepted 50 per cent liability for the mishap and it was left to the court to assess the damages payable.

A High Court hearing was held in February where the 50-year-old former endurance racing driver sought damages for loss of future earnings and a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This was in addition to compensation for pain and suffering from the physical injury.

Justice Choo Han Teck in judgment grounds released on Thursday remarked that the claims for physical injury were "not difficult" to assess, which he set at $12,000. He also awarded about $6,000 more for pre-medical and transport costs. She therefore was awarded $9,000 at 50 per cent liability.

He noted the big ticket items related to her career record and social activities, as she had been an active person who enjoyed driving cars at car rallies.

She claimed that as a result of the accident she was unable to lead the kind of lifestyle she was used to.

Justice Choo found the fracture had completely healed and accepted she had sustained CRPS based on the medical evidence. But he found her claims of the effects of CRPS to be exaggerated.

Defence lawyer Ramesh Appoo produced evidence to show she went on a long nature walk in July 2012, "contrary to her much emphasised pain and how it prevents her from walking long distances to the extent that she is unable to work".

The judge found this was inconsistent with her claims that her condition had been "steadily deteriorating" since November 2011.

"I therefore find her claims as to her disability and loss of income to be untrue,"said Justice Choo.

vijayan@sph.com.sg