Grab rider suffers brain injury after car crash

MANILA, Philippines – A passenger of popular ride-hailing app Grab is fighting for his life after a car crash left him with traumatic brain injury. 

Twenty-year-old Marko de Guzman booked a ride with a friend on October 26, when the driver supposedly fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed with another car in UN Avenue in Manila. The car also hit an LRT post.

According to a viral Facebook post of his cousin Steffi de Guzman, Marko fractured his skull and had to undergo a “very complicated brain surgery.” 

De Guzman is also unable to talk and function normally.

"Kahit sarili niyang nanay, hindi na niya makikilala. Imagine 'nyo yun, lumabas lang naman si Marko nung gabing 'yun at sumakay ng Grab, biglang hindi na siya makakagalaw, 'di na makakasalita, 'di na makakaintindi ng sinasabi ng mga mahal niya sa buhay?” his cousin said.

(He can’t recognize his own mother. Imagine, Marko just went out and booked a ride on Grab, then suddenly he can no longer move, speak, and can’t understand his loved ones.)

Medical expenses

The family said Grab has offered to pay only for a fraction of the P2.5 million worth of medical expenses.

The De Guzman family said Grab made several offers but not enough to cover his hospital bill. They also claimed that Grab's policy only gives out a maximum of P200,000 for accidents.

"Marko lost his future, his chance to get a job and earn for himself and his family. He lost his capacity to learn, to understand, to recognize his loved ones,” Steffi said.

The family is now raising funds for Marko’s medical expenses.

In a statement, Grab Philippines said it is “saddened by this terribly unfortunate incident."

"We continue to pray for his immediate and successful recovery," the company said.

Grab Philippines Spokesperson Leo Gonzales said they have been in constant communication with the family and offered financial assistance.

"While the family has not accepted any of our offers, we are continuously reaching out to extend adequate support that would cover Marko’s hospital expenses. We are also assisting them in claiming their insurance, which is offered to all Grab passengers and driver-partners,” Gonzales said.

The driver, Allan Sarmiento, has been permanently banned from the Grab platform. He and another driver await arraignment. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.