Firms win plaudits for work in negligence

Mr Zamry Abdul Karim, who has been blind since he was born, suffered serious injuries after being knocked down by a taxi in Toh Guan View in 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Law firm Lee Shergill says it broke new ground when it represented a blind accident victim in a five-year lawsuit.

Not only was such a case rare, but it also highlighted the potential challenges in handling a client who was unable to read the documents. Many law firms would not have experience with this.

Among other things, said lawyer Raj Singh Shergill, the affidavit prepared to support Mr Zamry Abdul Karim’s claim for damages – which was over 200 pages – had to be read to him verbatim for approval.

But while there were hurdles, Mr Shergill said he found it “immensely satisfying in seeing the client obtain a fair outcome”.

Lee Shergill achieved a five-star rating in the Negligence (Professional/Accidents/Personal Injuries) category of The Straits Times Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2023 rankings, coming in second among the top 20 firms.

Mr Zamry, 53, who has been blind since he was born, will get about $410,000 in total compensation following an out-of-court settlement to which all parties consented.

The High Court-sanctioned settlement averted the need for him to appear at court hearings to assess the sum.

Mr Zamry, who worked as a massage therapist for 15 years, suffered serious injuries when he was knocked down by a taxi at a signalised T-junction in Toh Guan View on June 13, 2017.

He sued the cab driver for negligence, and both parties accepted 50 per cent liability each by mutual consent in 2020.

The total sum agreed on included compensation for medical costs, loss of employment, pain and suffering, and legal costs and disbursements, according to the consent order judgment issued by High Court Assistant Registrar Constance Tay on Sept 23 this year.

Mr Zamry, who has been unable to work since his accident, thanked Mr Shergill last week, saying: “He will always be my champion.”

On representing accident victim Zamry Abdul Karim in a five-year lawsuit, Mr Raj Singh Shergill of Lee Shergill said he found it “immensely satisfying in seeing the client obtain a fair outcome”. PHOTO: LEE SHERGILL

Mr Shergill said negligence is one of the few areas of legal practice that connect with the concerns of the man in the street.

Clifford Law was voted best in the category for the third straight year. 

Ms Viviene Sandhu, a partner at the firm, pointed to a recent case that it helped settle out of court, which averted a potential trial set for 28 days. 

“The award and recognition give us a great sense of pride and fulfilment and motivate us to do even better for our clients,” she said.

On Clifford Law being recognised for its work, Ms Viviene Sandhu said it provides a sense of pride and fulfilment and motivates the firm to do even better for its clients. PHOTO: CLIFFORD LAW

Negligence lawsuits can sometimes be high-profile, such as the recent case brought against Tan Tock Seng Hospital over the death of a 74-year-old woman, which was dismissed.

The hospital was successfully defended by Dentons Rodyk – the only “Big Five” firm to rank among the top five in this category this year.

Rising to sixth place with a five-star rating was WhiteFern LLC, up from 11th with a four-star rating last year.

WhiteFern’s Mr K. Anparasan and Ms Grace Tan are currently representing the vehicle insurer in the 2021 Tanjong Pagar car crash, in which five men died.

The families of three of the dead men are suing the estate of the driver, seeking to claim about $1.7 million in compensation for the accident.

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