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Photo of Mr Aw Kian Chow by Lian He Wan Bao

Man who sued Sembawang Town Council after fall that left him paralysed dies

Mr Aw Kian Chow sued the Sembawang Town Council after a fall back in 2008 at a sheltered walkway led him to be paralysed from the neck down. Mr Aw, 59, died at noon on 26 March after experiencing breathing difficulties for a month.

Mr Aw had been using a sheltered walkway to head back to his flat in Block 415, Sembawang Drive in August 2008. A sloping ramp as well as its railings were wet due to rain when Mr Aw slipped and fell, causing him to be paralysed as his spine was fractured in the accident.

Subsequently, he sued the Sembawang Town Council for negligence in failing to properly maintain the walkway with non-slip material or paint on its surface. Mr Aw also cited the Town Councils Act, which states a town council has a duty to ensure common property, including walkways, stays in a good and clean condition.

In a trial in January 2013, Mr Aw sought unspecified damages for the injuries he suffered, loss of future and pre-trial earnings, transport costs and medical expenses. While the amount sought remains unspecified, High Court claims start at $250,000. After the case was heard in the High Court for two days, Mr Aw and Sembawang Town Council came to a confidential settlement.

After the accident, Mr Aw was bedridden and was on ventilator support and full artificial life support. He also required two caregivers to tend to him. The family had also sold their Sembawang flat to cover Mr Aw’s medical expenses.

Mr Aw leaves behind his wife, Madam Angeline Zeng, and their two teenage daughters, aged 15 and 19.