Car crash victim may have chance to rebuild life

A man paralysed in a car accident says he still has not received compensation from the man who caused the crash six years ago.

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SHARJAH // A car accident victim paralysed from the waist down was told yesterday his six-year wait for full compensation is almost over.

The driver who caused the accident has handed a cheque for Dh588,500 to court officials in Dubai and it will be deposited with Sharjah Court of First Instance within a week.

The news has come as a huge relief to the victim, Saeed Abdullah, who is in his early 30s and from Pakistan. "I hope I get it this time. It will be of much help," he said.

The payment will transform Mr Abdullah's life.

He is currently confined to a small room in the flat he shares with eight other men.

"My life is fully in bed, 24 hours in bed," he said. "I cannot go out. I always need support.

"I sleep a maximum three or four hours every day. Mostly I spend my time on the internet."

Life was not always this way for Mr Abdullah, who came to the UAE in 1997.

After two years of doing odd jobs, he returned to his home in the city of Attock.

Things seemed to be falling into place in 2002 when he returned to the UAE and found a sales job with a textiles company. He enjoyed the job and looked forward to the future.

But on September 2, 2005, everything changed.

Mr Abdullah was driving along Emirates Road in Sharjah to deliver goods to a client. He remembers seeing a car approaching quickly behind him. He changed lanes but could not avoid being hit.

The speeding BMW pushed Mr Abdullah's delivery van into an electrical pole.

"When I opened my eyes I could not move my head, just my eyes," he said.

Mr Abdullah spent the next three months recovering in Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, and had more treatment in Pakistan.

The driver of the BMW, ARH, an Emirati, was under the influence of alcohol and driving without a valid licence or insurance. He was jailed for two weeks.

In June 2007, Sharjah Court of First Instance awarded Mr Abdullah Dh800,000 in compensation. ARH was judged able to pay the amount.

That was four years ago, but Mr Abdullah has received less than half of the compensation. After several transfers amounting to about Dh310,000, ARH was unable to pay more.

Last year, the two sides agreed he would make monthly payments of Dh8,000 to settle the debt.

Mr Abdullah has not received any of that money and there is no record of it having been paid. But in court yesterday Judge Mohammed Habib Al Kamali told Mr Abdullah he had received a letter from Dubai courts informing him that officials there had received the last cheque from ARH. The cheque was to be deposited with the Sharjah court within a week.

The court also set another hearing for September 29 in case Mr Abdullah had not been paid.

Judge Al Kamali, the head of the Sharjah Court of First Instance, who has handled the case from the beginning, said ARH went bankrupt after paying part of the compensation, and was imprisoned. Under a law that applies only to Emiratis, he had been released from jail because he could not flee the country.

"There is a law that allows him to be set free and go and work to find the balance of the compensation," Judge Al Kamali said.

Meanwhile, Mr Abdullah is trying to put his life back together.

He has used his long hours in bed to teach himself how to use computers. His housemates now rely on him for technical support.

While in Pakistan, Mr Abdullah married a divorced mother of three and hopes one day to bring her to the UAE.

"I do not want to go back to Pakistan," he said. "I do not have a treatment facility there. I want treatment, I want a normal life."

For about a year Lisa Kingsley, 29, a Briton, has assisted him. Ms Kingsley runs Basics UAE, an informal group of volunteers who do charity work.

She visits Mr Abdullah once or twice a week and has accompanied him on his monthly visits to the court.

Ms Kingsley is gathering money for a thorough medical examination, as Mr Abdullah suffers from high blood pressure and needs physiotherapy.

"He needs help with payments for medical treatment," she said. "He has not had any thorough medical treatment for at least three or four years."

Ms Kingsley is also hoping to find specialists - lawyers, doctors or physiotherapists - to give their time to help Mr Abdullah.

Also on the wish list is an employer to hire him to work in information technology, data entry or in a call centre.

"My ultimate dream is to get him a job here where he can become self-sufficient," she said.

Mr Abdullah shares that dream.

"I want an easy future," he said. "For work I have no problem, because I like to work."

* With additional reporting by Salam Al Amir