PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has affirmed a High Court award for RM3.97 million to allow a man to fit an “arm orthosis” after his right upper limb became dysfunctional following a road accident six years ago.
The High Court award is believed to be the first in the country in respect of such a claim.
A three-member bench, chaired by Justice Che Ruzima Ghazali, said insurance company Etiqa General Takaful Bhd did not adduce an arm orthosis quotation suitable for Sidik Ketar, 42.
“The evidence of an arm orthosis expert brought by Sidik supports the contention that he (Sidik) needs the equipment,” the judge said when dismissing the insurance company’s appeal in proceedings conducted online.
Che Ruzima, who sat with Justices Nazlan Ghazali and Azman Abdullah, also awarded RM10,000 in costs to Sidik, who was represented by GK Ganesan, KN Geetha, R Kameswari, GS Saran and RJ Nevina.
Lawyer Kani Amuthan appeared for the insurance company.
On Nov 12, 2021, then Judicial Commissioner K Muniandy of the High Court in Taiping allowed Sidik’s claim following an appeal.
The judge said Sidik, a Risda employee, was entitled to the best, as the purpose of compensation was to “put a plaintiff (Sidik) in near a position he was before the tort was committed”.
In this case, he said, the arm orthosis would certainly help Sidik lead a normal life and that he ought to be given the chance to use it.
The compensation was inclusive of replacement parts for the device, including batteries and lifetime maintenance.
Muniandy also maintained the RM180,000 payment awarded by the Kuala Kangsar sessions court.
Sidik was riding his motorcycle from Kuala Kangsar to his home in Taman Rengas Sejaya in Padang Rengas on Aug 21, 2017, when he was involved in a collision with a car.
He sustained severe injuries to his right arm, including a brachial plexus injury, a degloving wound, an open fracture of the right humerus, abrasions, cerebral concussion and laceration wounds.
He was unable to use his right arm and could no longer carry out routine daily activities like taking a bath, using the toilet and putting on his clothes.
On Dec 14, 2018, he filed a negligence suit against the driver, Zainal Hazril, and his father, Zainal Mokhtar Zainal Abidin, who owned the vehicle.
Sidik sought payment for the cost of an arm orthosis or myoelectric-powered orthosis, a device to assist in the use of his right arm.
Sessions court judge Rohaida Ishak granted most of Sidik’s claims except for his claim for the orthosis device on grounds that it was “far too expensive”.