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Friday, May 7, 2021

Record QR10mn compensation sought for disabled construction worker

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justice

UAA Justice Center For Students

The lawyers of an expat severely injured in a 2012 auto accident have said they are asking Qatar’s Court of Appeals to award their client QR10 million (US$2.75 million) in compensation.

If their bid is successful, it would be the highest amount ever awarded to a traffic accident victim in Qatar, according to Hawas Al-Shammari, a partner at Shammari and Hajri Lawyers and Legal Consultants.

In July of this year, Qatar’s Court of First Instance, or lower court, awarded the man, who is now paralyzed from the waist down, QR806,000 (US$221,350) in compensation. However, Al-Shammari said he appealed the ruling and has asked the higher court to consider the initial QR10 million request.

“This laborer is suffering,” he told Doha News.

Traffic tragedy

Roughly a year and a half ago, the man – an unnamed Nepalese construction worker in his 30s – was standing on the median of Corniche St. between Customs Roundabout and Ras Abu Aboud signal, waiting to cross the road on his way home from work.

According to Al-Shammari, a motorist in the center lane attempted to move into the left lane, but ended up rear-ending another vehicle. That car was sent into the median, where it struck the Nepalese man and pushed him into oncoming traffic.

The man was subsequently struck by another vehicle.

The first motorist, a Qatari man, has been criminally charged and fined for the accident, but not sentenced to jail time, Al-Shammari said. He added that he could not disclose the amount of the fine.

Separately, the motorist’s insurance company paid the QR806,000 compensation.

The construction worker – who had lived in Qatar for three years – was treated at Hamad Hospital, where his medical bills were covered by the insurance provided by his employer, Al-Shammari said.

Pedestrian safety is a growing issue in Qatar, with government officials calling it a “priority” health concern.

Fatalities were up by nearly one-third between 2008 and 2012. Each year, roughly 80 pedestrians die and more than 200 pedestrians are taken to hospitals in Qatar as a result of traffic accidents.

More than nine out of 10 victims are expats, mostly from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Quest for compensation

Qatari courts have considerable discretion in determining compensation levels, but generally apply the standard QR200,000 “blood money” award usually reserved in the case of deaths as a guide for serious injuries, Al-Shammari said.

He added that the victim was “fully satisfied and relieved” with the lower court’s QR806,000 judgment and returned to Nepal following the ruling.

However, his lawyers want that amount increased to QR10 million, which Al-Shammari said would be the highest compensation ever awarded to a traffic accident victim here. The lawyer said he found a previous judgment for QR3 million in a similar case, but could not immediately recall the details.

When asked how he came up with QR10 million, Al-Shammari said, “compensation amounts (are) a matter of (one’s) point of view.”

He would not name the insurance company required to pay the Nepalese man.

Implications

Whatever the outcome of the appeal – a ruling could come in early November – Al-Shammari said the case is a victory for the rights of migrant workers.

“The rights of the laborers are fully protected according to the Qatari laws … The system in Qatar protected his interest.”

He added that would-be migrant workers should not allow media reports – specifically allegations by the Guardian that Nepalese workers are being used as slave laborers – about Qatar’s human rights record to influence their decision to move here.

While Qatar has several laws in place to protect expat workers, organizations such as Human Rights Watch and trade union Building and Wood Workers’ International, which recently completed a visit to Doha, have urged the country to step up enforcement of those regulations. That includes shoring up work and living conditions, especially for low-income construction workers.

Rights groups have also called on Qatar to abolish its kafala system, and in particular the exit permit requirement, under which employees need their sponsors’ permission to leave the country, even for vacation.

Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

A few issues with this case.
1. I hope the man gets a reasonable settlement in regards to the terrible injuires he suffered
2. I cannot see 10 Million being awarded and if so who will pay? If the person who caused the accident is told to pay, judging by previous cases he will just ignore the courts ruling.
3. If the insurance company is forced to pay and these awards become the norm, then this will drive up insurance premiums for all motorists.
4. Lastly the man was happy with the original award but his lawyers are still appealing for more. I wonder what their cut of the compensation is?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Interesting points. Generally speaking, here and elsewhere, in compensation cases the requested amount tends to be much higher than what is realistically expected to be awarded by the court. It’s doubtful anymore money will be awarded since the man is happy with the amount already awarded to him.

However, while unlikely, the government may wish for a higher amount to be awarded, possibly by the state, as PR move to counter the negative effect of the laborers rights story. At least the lawyer seem to hint at that.

Kingpin
Kingpin
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Why is the lawyer even commenting that labourers shouldn’t be put off by articles in the Guardian, surely it is his business to deal with his clients case, not on the pro and cons of Qatari labour laws. Sounds a bit too orchestrated to me.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

If the lawyer will get a cut of any additional compensation, this is maybe his way of “inciting” the government to push for higher compensation. Now, I very much doubt the government will take the bait. Still, what’s the harm in trying 😉

Kingpin
Kingpin
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

As they say where I live “shy bairns get nowt” (If you don’t ask you don’t get)

disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The initial settlement actually seems really small considering the man’s lost earnings over his lifetime, the change in his quality of life and not to mention medical expenses in the future, not just to recuperate from the accident.

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Given the amount of posts you make and the speed at which you make them.. I believe it’s about time you got out, now that the weather is nice, got social and found yourself a pretty GF to occupy your time with

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

You’re probably right but I might get hit by a land cruiser and end up as a story on Doha News……

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

With your photo? 🙂 …

I can hit you with my landcruiser, and we can agree to share the 10 million…

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Wait, I thought that you were a Nissan Patrol guy??

ann
ann
7 years ago

Unfortunately this story doesn’t really surprise me, the way people drive here is absolutely ridiculous, I suppose it was only a matter of time until i read of an individual sustaining such horrible injuys

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  ann

lol You make it sound like this is the 1st such case here! It isn’t, it’s not even that rare 🙁

ann
ann
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

i meant it is the 1st case i have read about since moving to Doha, I understand the sad reality that it is not rare at all, such a preventable tragedy

Scousecath
Scousecath
7 years ago

All these road improvements so let’s hope pedestrian crossings either road side or bridges are also thought about.

Ali
Ali
7 years ago

From where did they get that QAR200000 blood money amount? In Islam there is no fixed amount and the grieving family can ask any amount they want.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

I hope he gets every penny he’s requesting.

The lack of significant financial incentives is why safety is so lax here.

If companies had to pay $2 million for every worker that dies on the job due to company negligence, safety standards would be decent. Companies are in the game to make money, so if you don’t give them a financial reason to do something, they won’t.

The same with motorists. Insurers simply would not take high risk drivers, thus forcing them not to drive. If the authorities aren’t going to enforce their own traffic laws by removing dangerous drivers from the roads, this is another way to achieve a similar result.

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