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Filipina plans to take govt to court for injured arm

04 October 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

A longtime Filipino community leader has applied for legal aid to claim compensation for the injuries she suffered when her left leg got caught in a gap in a drainage cover in Sheung Sze Wan Village, Clearwater Bay on Aug. 17.

Merly Terne Bunda, an Ilonggo correspondent of Bombo Radyo and a contributor of The SUN, dislocated her elbow when she tried to break her fall.

She is seeking legal aid in pursuing a personal injuries claim against the government agency responsible for maintaining the drainage cover near her employer’s house, most likely the Drainage Services Department.

With help from the Mission for Migrant Workers, she is also filing a claim for employees’ compensation for her injuries as she was at work when the accident happened. Bunda said she was then on the way to the beach with a fellow maid and her two young wards.

One of her neighbors, a local Chinese man who called for an ambulance to help her, told Bunda later that he had called relevant government authorities to cover the gap after his leg was caught in it earlier, but no one came.

He has volunteered to write a statement to support Bunda’s claim for compensation.

A solicitor who gave initial advice to Bunda said testimonies from eyewitnesses, especially as to the apparent neglect in keeping the public facility safe, would help her greatly in pursuing a claim for compensation against the government.

As for employees compensation, the solicitor said it was enough that the accident that incapacitated the worker, whether permanently or temporarily, happened “in the course of work”. The duration of the sick leave would also be important in determining how much compensation she should get.

According to Bunda, three other village residents also had their legs caught in the gap earlier, including another Filipina domestic worker who has since gone to Canada, as well as a child. But no one apparently filed suit because they only suffered minor injuries.

Bunda says the Chinese man who has been helping her has since covered the gap with a piece of plywood, but no one from the government has responded to appeals to fix the problem permanently.

Bunda was admitted to Tseung Kwan O hospital for two days after the accident, and her left arm was put in a splint secured by metal screws. She was given 13 days’ sick leave and told to return to have the splint removed on Aug. 21.

But after the splint was removed, the doctor noticed that the swelling around her elbow had not subsided, and the flesh was still tender to the touch, so Bunda was told to take time off work again until Oct. 16.

She says the doctor told her it would take up to four more weeks before her arm is fully healed.

She is now complying with the documentary requirements for legal aid so she can pursue her claims.

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