THE PERILS OF ENTRUSTING MOTOR WORKSHOPS TO HANDLE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CLAIMS
In a road traffic accident claim by one motorist Mr Lawrence Lim in 2012, Mr Lim had entrusted his vehicle damage claim to a motor workshop and had signed a discharge voucher under the mistaken impression that the settlement was in regards to only his vehicle damage and not to his personal injury claim. However, in a ruling against Mr Lim, the High Court had held that the discharge voucher was clear and unequivocal and left no room for subsequent and separate claims for personal injury as the discharge voucher had made it clear that the settlement “covers it all”. Mr Lim was therefore precluded from claiming further compensation in relation to his personal injuries.
Justice Choo Han Teck in the case added that the motor workshop had no business making or negotiating legal claims for Mr Lim and that if Mr Lim chose to rely on the workshop and not solicitors, he could not hold anyone answerable for the bad advice except the workshop and himself.
[Write up on the case can be found here: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/court-rejects-bid-by-motorist-to-pursue-personal-injury-claim ]
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident as a vehicle driver, and have entrusted your motor workshop to settle the claim with third party insurers, please exercise caution when signing any discharge vouchers requested for by the third party insurers at the workshop. Discharge vouchers may include terms such as “in full and final settlement of all claims including personal injury and vehicle damage” and in some cases, may even require an indemnity to be given by the claimant to the insurer against any third party claims. Such terms should be carefully reviewed and considered before signing.
Motor workshops who do not fully understand the legal implications of the wordings of the discharge voucher may compromise your legal claim, and as such it is best that you engage a law firm to handle your vehicle damage and/or personal injury claims so that the appropriate legal advice can be given before you sign on any discharge voucher.