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Injured motorist's personal injury claim rejected by court due to discharge voucher signed at workshop

The High Court of Singapore has rejected an injured motorist’s bid to pursue his personal injury claim against a car insurer, on the basis that he had signed a discharge voucher disclaiming the defendants’ insurer, NTUC Income, from any further liability.

The motorist, one Mr. Lim, had sought damages for personal injuries arising from an accident involving a chain collision between seven vehicles on October 15 2011. After the accident, Mr. Lim had sent his car to the workshop, which later lodged a claim with the defendants’ insurers, NTUC Income in respect of the damage to Mr. Lim’s vehicle. The claim was settled and Mr. Lim had signed a discharge voucher issued by NTUC Income at the workshop in 2012.

Mr. Lim later sued for personal injury against the defendants, arguing that the $9,052.00 paid by NTUC Income only covered compensation for his car damage and not for his personal injuries. However, Justice Choo Han Teck in his ruling held that the discharge voucher that Mr. Lim had signed in the workshop was clear and unequivocal and left no room for a separate claim arising out of the accident. The learned Judge further held that “the workshop has no business making or negotiating legal claims for Mr. Lim (or any customer)” and that the workshop should have sent the repair bill to Mr. Lim and let his lawyers handle any negotiations for settlement. Justice Choo also held that NTUC Income was not obliged to inform Mr. Lim of his right to legal advice or to amend the terms of the discharge voucher.

Reported in the Straits Times here

9 April 2019

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