RTPO sued for road tragedy

RTPO sued for road tragedy

Dead doctor's family seeks B72 million

The parents of the doctor killed in a road accident involving a police officer in Bangkok have filed a 72-million-baht lawsuit against the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) and the officer.

Anirut Supawatjariyakul and his wife Ratchanee, parents of ophthalmologist Waraluck Supawatjariyakul, and their lawyer yesterday filed the suit with the Civil Court against the RTPO and Pol L/Cpl Norawich Buadok of the Protection and Crowd Control Divison's sub-division 1.

Pol L/Cpl Norawich has admitted driving the Ducati motorcycle that hit and killed Waraluck on a pedestrian crossing on Phaya Thai Road in Ratchathewi district on Jan 21.

Natthaphol Nichawong, the lawyer of the victim's family, said they were suing the RTPO, as the first defendant, and Pol L/Cpl Norawich, as the second defendant, for violating rights, demanding compensation of 72 million baht plus interest.

The amount is for funeral rites and compensation for the family's loss of their daughter, he said.

The lawyer said the Civil Court would consider whether to accept the suit or not, adding a court date was set for April 20 to discuss the issues mentioned in the suit. The defendants must show up at court that day, Mr Natthaphol said.

"The amount takes into account several factors, including [Waraluck's] potential contributions to the country and her parents, if still alive," he said.

"If she had worked until retirement, she would have earned about 300 million baht and paid at least 30 million baht in taxes to the state," he noted. "Academic and university lectures were jointly accounted for in the amount."

Asked by a reporter what the family would do if the policeman was unable to pay the damages, Mr Natthaphol said the lawsuit names the officer's employer as the first defendant as a guarantee for payment.

If the court found either of them at fault, the family would receive compensation, he said.

Even if Pol L/Cpl Norawich could not afford the compensation, and the RTPO argued the incident was a personal matter, there was a link to the performance of duty, he said.

Immediately before the crash, Pol L/Cpl Norawich had delivered important documents to the Metropolitan Police Bureau, he said, adding the accident occurred not far from the bureau's office and it occurred during a working day and working hours.

In addition, the suit also took into consideration the issue of the police management of zebra crossings, places of frequent accidents but where no measures are ever taken to resolve the problem, he said.

The victim's father, also an ophthalmologist, said no amount of money could compensate for the loss of their daughter. The figures were an assessment, but the psychological damage cannot be calculated, Dr Anirut said.

Mr Natthaphol said the family would file another suit with the Administrative Court against the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and two of its agencies -- the Traffic and Transportation Office and the Road Safety Centre -- for negligence in safety management over the use of pedestrian crossings. The family could also demand 72 million baht here, he said.

Waraluck's parents, their lawyer and a group of university law students were later reported to have arrived at the Administrative Court to file the suit.

According to the suit, the BMA and its agencies were negligent for failing to put up signs warning vehicles to stop or slow down at the pedestrian crossing where the fatal accident occurred. They are also accused of failing to strictly enforce traffic rules in the area.

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