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Crash payouts still in limbo

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People inspect damage on a tourist bus in Svay Rieng province earlier this year after it was involved in a deadly crash that claimed 18 lives and injured 20 others. Vireak Mai

Crash payouts still in limbo

The families of victims killed or injured by a deadly road accident in Svay Rieng province in May are accusing the bus company involved of not paying out the court-ordered compensation in full.

On May 20, a tourist bus from the 15 SH Bus Company tried to overtake a car on National Road 6, colliding with a minivan in the other lane carrying 39 garment workers.

The minivan’s driver was killed along with 18 other workers, while another 20 were injured.

Earlier this month, the Svay Rieng Provincial Court ordered 15 SH to compensate the families of the dead in the amount of 12 million riel (about $3,000) each, along with 6 million to 10 million riel (about $1,500 to $2,500) for each injured person. It also sentenced the driver of the bus to five years in jail.

However, Pich Toeuk, the 50-year-old mother of two daughters in the minivan, one of whom died and another who was injured, said the company had not agreed to pay out the funds in full.

“The company agreed to pay only $50,000 for all victims, dead and injured, but we did not accept it. It is very little for our childrens’ lives,” she said.

“I will sue at the Appeal Court for compensation for my 24-year-old who died and 17-year-old who was injured.”

In a September hearing, the families demanded $20,000 for each person killed and $10,000 for each injured.

Ean Rim, 37, the husband of a garment worker who died in the crash, confirmed that victims’ families were collecting thumbprints to file a complaint to the Appeal Court.

“The National Social Security Fund already paid the victims’ families, but the company has not yet paid us and it refused to pay 12 million riel to each of the dead workers’ families,” he said.

Doung Ratha, director of 15 SH Bus, put the blame yesterday on the insurance company, Caminco, handling the victims’ complaints.

“I cannot control all work problems, so I asked the insurance company to solve it,” he said, adding that the incident was an accident that he highly regretted.

“Our company is now facing budget problems,” said Ratha.

“I am not happy to talk about this case; the insurance company is responsible for this.”

Representatives for Caminco could not be reached yesterday.

Calls to the presiding judge in the case, Sothy Borachhat, yesterday went unanswered.

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