SINGAPORE - For law firm Lee Shergill - one of four to achieve a five-star rating for negligence law in the Best Law Firms 2021 rankings - handling the case of a blind man was both rare and inspiring.
Managing partner Raj Singh Shergill said he was struck by the positive outlook of Mr Zamry Abdul Karim, who has been blind since birth.
In court documents filed, Mr Zamry related how, when using his white cane to cross Toh Guan Road at a signalised T-junction with Toh Guan View in Jurong East at about 11.30pm on June 13, 2017, he was knocked down by a taxi.
He fractured his leg and had other injuries, received hospital treatment, and has remained jobless since then because of his disabilities as a result of the injuries from the accident.
Before that, he had worked for 15 years as a massage therapist.
Mr Zamry, 51, will receive 50 per cent of damages after an agreement on liability was worked out with the vehicle insurer through its lawyer K. Anparasan last month, averting a High Court trial.
The sum of the damages will be court-assessed separately.
Mr Zamry had memorised the route between his workplace and Toh Guan Road, where he lived then. He had travelled the same route without incident since 1999.
At most pedestrian crossings, he would press the button for the visually impaired and the elderly to ensure he had more time to cross the road, with the audible beep from the traffic signals allowing him to gauge how much time he had to complete the crossing.
But the crossing at the Toh Guan Road and Toh Guan View junction did not have this button function. So he had to listen carefully to the sound of the traffic around him.
"As a blind person, we become reliant on our sense of hearing, which in turn becomes more finely attuned to our surroundings. When the cars stopped and I could hear their engines idling, I would use this as a gauge to begin crossing," he said.
Mr Zamry said he was grateful to Mr Shergill for his efforts.
"I live like Batman at home because I have lived in the dark since I was born and I don't miss the light. I switch on the light only when I get visitors to my flat. I have memorised my flat layout and so I don't have to use the white cane at home," he said on Saturday (Nov 14).
Mr Shergill said the case was one in a wide range of negligence suits the firm had handled that drew notice from clients and peers alike.
He added: "The ranking is a ringing endorsement by clients and fellow lawyers of our team's efforts. It is encouraging and inspiring to know that we are appreciated and that we have made a difference in our calling to secure justice for injury or medical negligence victims.
"More so when we are up against industry giants with deeper resources. I hope the recognition received will inspire more young lawyers to dedicate their legal minds to areas where they can be a blessing to others in their time of need."