Woman who sued PUB after falling into manhole accepts settlement offer

This article is more than 12 months old

She had claimed manhole accident in 2015 caused schizophrenia and PTSD

In an unexpected development, the woman who sued national water agency PUB after she fell into a manhole and sought $5 million in damages threw in the towel yesterday.

Madam Chan Hui Peng, 47, has accepted an offer to settle from PUB's insurers made on Nov 10, lawyers from both sides told The Straits Times.

The terms are confidential. Her decision came hours after she told the High Court yesterday morning that she would be proceeding with her claim.

The chartered accountant suffered a fractured ankle after she fell into a 1.8m-deep manhole in Simon Road near Kovan, on Dec 1, 2015. In her lawsuit, she alleged that the accident also caused her to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Last month, she added her diagnosis of schizophrenia in February to the list of injuries. PUB accepted 70 per cent of the liability for the accident but disputed her claims of PTSD and schizophrenia.

The trial opened on Monday, and over four days, Madam Chan was grilled on the stand by PUB's lawyers, Mr K. Anparasan and Ms Grace Tan, from WhiteFern.

On Wednesday, Mr Anparasan said he would give her a chance to withdraw her claim after he confronted her over her "lies". Yesterday morning, Madam Chan said at the start of the day's hearing that her claim was "honest and legitimate" and she would be pursuing it.

Mr Anparasan then took her through events from July to October last year - when her alleged schizophrenia symptoms appeared - to show that she was mentally capable of conducting her own case. Madam Chan was not represented by lawyers at the time.

He also took her through medical documents to back his contention that she had orchestrated evidence of a mental illness and other complaints. Ms Tan then went through notes from Tan Tock Seng Hospital from April to December 2016 to show that Madam Chan had tried to ask a psychologist to amend her reports, but she stood by her professional opinion that there were PTSD symptoms but they did not amount to a disorder.

Madam Chan's lawyer, Mr Ivan Lee from Legal Standard, told The Straits Times: "While our client would have liked to press on with the trial, the strain of the litigation over the past four days has taken a toll on her mental health and emotional well-being."

He said Madam Chan has decided to accept PUB's offer and move on with her life.