COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan doctor has been awarded a whopping Rs 180 million in damages by a court here for a spinal injury she suffered in 2008 during a conference, the highest compensation given in the country.
Samitha Samanmali, who was critically injured when a steel beam collapsed on her at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH) in February 2008, was awarded punitive damages by the Colombo District Court.
She was a 24-year-old medical student when the accident occurred, but went on to become a doctor and fought for the compensation.
She had demanded Rs 500 million as compensation but the court awarded her Rs 180 million and also the legal costs, making it the highest compensation awarded by a Sri Lankan court.
"I hope this judgment will help reduce incidents like this," Samanmali told reporters as she was wheeled out of the court.
"It took a long time to get this compensation, but I hope it will have a deterrent effect," she said.
The Chinese-gifted BMICH was originally built for the 1976 Non-Aligned Summit and it was refurbished for the November 2013 Commonwealth Summit.