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Latheef with family in India on his daughter’s birthday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A court in Dubai has ordered a compensation of Dh2million to an Indian road accident victim, who has been semi-paralysed because of spinal cord injuries.

The compensation from the Court of Appeal came last week after the disability level of the victim, who is currently under treatment in Kerala, was assessed by a doctor who was flown to the south Indian state, his legal representatives told Gulf News.

Latheef Ummer, 34, had suffered major injuries to his spinal cord in the accident that took place on January 14, 2019 in Jebel Ali.

Speaking to Gulf News from his hometown Chelakkara in Thrissur district, Latheef thanked the UAE’s judicial system that ensured justice for him with the compensation which is more than Rs40million (Dh2 million) in India.

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Latheef with his children Shahazad and Shifa Sherin Image Credit: Supplied

Grave negligence

Latheef, who had joined as a site technician with Quick Mix Beton in Dubai a year before the accident, said the accident occurred due to the grave negligence by the driver of a concrete mixer that belonged to the company.

“We were on the way to a site. He was watching something on the mobile phone,” he recollected.

When they reached a roundabout near Dubai Techno Park, Latheef said his compatriot driver lost control over the truck that was carrying 30tonnes of concrete mix.

“The truck overturned to my side. I had worn the seat belt and hence I didn’t get thrown away, but got stuck inside. He (the driver) had not worn the seat belt and he fell on top of me. The fire extinguisher also came crashing on me.”

Latheef said he suffered the spinal cord injuries due to the impact of the driver, who weighed almost double his weight, and the fire extinguisher falling onto him.

“Had he been careful, my life would not have changed like this. This is my fate,” said the partially paralysed man who needs help to even get onto his wheelchair.

He said he had been trapped inside the truck for nearly two hours before the civil defence personnel cut open the mangled cabin of the truck.

“The windshield glass had crashed and he [the driver] managed to escape through that and called the police, ambulance etc.”

Treatment and court case

After he was rescued, Latheef was rushed to NMC Royal Hospital where he was treated till March 20, 2019. There, he underwent two surgeries, one for the spinal cord injuries and one for tracheostomy.

Later, he was flown to Christian Medical College Vellore in Tamil Nadu in India where he received treatment till May 30, 2019. Post this, he received physiotherapy from another hospital in Kerala which he is currently continuing at home with the help of his wife Jaseena.

“I am still not in a position to move or walk without help from others. I have a tube attached for passing urine and I need to use a bedpan for toileting.”

“I have two children aged three and six and I was the only breadwinner for the family. The accident led me to depend on my wife for all my routine activities.”

Earlier the driver of the vehicle responsible for the accident was found guilty by the Dubai Court and he was released on paying a fine, said Latheef.

“But I approached Femin Panikkassery, a legal professional at Abdalla Al Naqbi Advocates and Legal Consultants for filing a compensation case,” he said.

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Latheef is left fully dependent upon his wife Jaseena since his accident Image Credit: Supplied

Since the judgement from the Court of First Instance was not sufficient, Ali Muhammad Ali, a legal consultant with the firm said, the advocates filed an appeal to get adequate compensation for the serious disability suffered by the petitioner.

“Showing the disability assessment by a doctor who had flown to India to examine the petitioner with the instruction from the court, we succeeded in convincing the court that he is still undergoing his treatment because of the disability.”

The case report says a medical expert had been sent to Kerala to examine the health status of Latheef and his findings on the latter’s disability were also a key factor to get the compensation.

“His company was also very supportive. They settled his huge medical bills here and the company and colleagues also offered monetary support after he went to India,” said Femin Panikkassery, who is also a recently-appointed legal consultant of Pravasi [Expat] Legal Aid Cell for UAE by the Norka Roots, a government of Kerala undertaking.

Future plan

Thanking his legal representatives and the kind management and colleagues of his company, Latheef said he would use the money for his future treatment and to build a house.

“I am not fully cured of my injuries and I will need lifelong treatment. So this money will be useful for my treatment. I thank God every day for giving me a new life and for giving me a chance to come out of danger from that accident. And I am very thankful to the lawyers and my company and colleagues, especially Sobi, who had helped me get that job and also took the initiative of collecting fund to support me.”

“I am from a poor family and we don’t even have a cemented house. So, it is our dream also to build a decent house which will enable me with better accessibility,” said Latheef.

The legal representatives said the money is expected to be sent to Latheef once the execution procedures are over.