Help for motorists to assess blame in accidents

The traffic on the Ayer Raja Expressway (AYE).
The traffic on the Ayer Raja Expressway (AYE).PHOTO: ST FILE

Online Simulator will be set up to gauge likely liability as part of dispute resolution platform

By the first quarter of 2019, motorists involved in traffic accidents will have access to an Online Simulator that will gauge their likely liability.

This is to help motorists better decide their next course of action, and make processes more affordable, accessible and effective.

The State Courts said that by the end of 2019, there will also be an online platform to recommend settlement amounts based on the information provided by users, and an online mediation platform for more complex cases.

The Online Simulator uses algorithms based on data that parties provide and also on precedent cases and historical data derived from the Electronic Motor Accident Guide and the third edition of the Practitioners' Library: Assessment Of Damages - Personal Injuries And Fatal Accidents, both launched on Feb 22.

The State Courts announced the the use of the simulator, which is part of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform for motor accident claims, yesterday at its workplan seminar. It said users will be guided through a question-and- answer format.

Speaking at the seminar, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said: "Having been apprised of the likely outcomes, the parties will hopefully be guided and able to engage in more meaningful settlement discussions, and be better placed to decide on their best course of action."

  • The initiatives at a glance

  • Online Dispute Resolution for motor accident claims A system for parties to resolve disputes through online mediation, an e-settlement platform and an Outcome Simulator.

    The Outcome Simulator is expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2019, while online mediation and the e-settlement platform are expected to be completed by the end of that year.

    Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS) A scheme to assist victims of criminal assault who have not been compensated by their attackers.

    Run by the Community Justice Centre - a charitable organisation - the scheme applies to two kinds of offences: Causing hurt and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon. The maximum claim is $1,000. The VAS will be piloted for a year from next month.

    Short mediation and hearing in Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) A fast track for SCT cases with no complex legal issues, which may cut court visits down to one from the current three to four.

    Once a case is filed, it will be screened and, if suitable, placed on an expedited track.

    It is expected to be implemented in the third quarter of this year.

    Real-time payment of fines and fees using hand-held devices From next month, court fine instalments can be paid via the Justice@State Courts mobile app through a link with the service provider, AXS.

    By the end of next year, people can also pay court fines and fees with the app.

    Shaffiq Alkhatib

In time to come, the ODR platform may be scaled up and adapted for use in a wider range of disputes, and provide a virtual environment for parties to participate actively and constructively manage the progress of all their cases, he added.

Insurance broker Ricky Chia said the Online Simulator is a good idea for handling own-damage claims, not so perhaps for third-party claims. He said: "Third-party claims are more complicated as nobody will readily admit his or her liability in an accident. Motor accident claims are often complicated as they involve a lot of different parties."

Mr Bernard Tay, president of the Automobile Association of Singapore, said the platform is meant to advise motorists on the possible outcomes and liabilities in any accident. "It is a good initiative to be supported, and we are awaiting more details," he said.

Mr Muhammad, 42, hopes the Online Simulator will expedite claims. The businessman, who declined to give his full name, said his case is still pending even though he was involved in a serious traffic accident in 2014 and had to be hospitalised for several weeks.

He added: "Right now, filing for motor accident claims is very messy. There is no consolidated approach, with many parties involved, such as the authorities and my insurance company."

Separately, a new Victim Assistance Scheme will be tested for one year from next month to offer assistance in medical expenses to those who suffer criminal assault but receive no compensation from their attackers. Run by the Community Justice Centre, a charitable organisation, the scheme applies to two kinds of offences: Causing hurt and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon. The offence must be committed in Singapore and original medical receipts have to be provided.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Help for motorists to assess blame in accidents'. Print Edition | Subscribe