Claimant Suffered Serious Injuries, Prolonged Hospitalization & Trauma – SC Enhances Compensation In Motor Accident Case
The Supreme Court has in a motor accident case enhanced compensation granted to the injured – claimant.
A Bench of Justice MR Shah & Justice Krishna Murari observed that the claimant suffered serious injuries, prolonged hospitalization, and trauma and thus enhanced the compensation.
The Court held –
"Considering the serious injuries suffered by the appellant – claimant and prolonged hospitalisation and the pain and suffering and trauma suffered by the appellantdue to the accident, we are of the opinion that the of Rs. 50,000/ awarded towards pain and suffering can be said to on a lower side."
In this case, the injured-claimant assailed the judgment of the Kerala High Court which had partly allowed the appeal of the claimant and enhanced the total compensation to Rs. 8,24, 800/-.
Aggrieved with the said amount of compensation, the claimant approached the Supreme Court.
The Appellant -Original claimant had sustained serious injuries resulting in 68% permanent disability (the High Court assessed the same as 100%). The claimant had filed a claim Petition before the Tribunal.
The Tribunal had assessed the income of the Appellant at Rs. 2,000/ per month and accordingly, awarded actual economic loss as well as future economic loss. Also, the Tribunal awarded Rs. 50,000/- towards pain and suffering.
In appeal, the High Court though assessed the permanent disability at 100% for working out of the compensation, enhanced the amount of compensation with respect to the future economic loss considering the income of the injured – claimant at Rs. 3,000/- per month. The High Court did not enhance the amount of compensation under other heads.
Counsel Sajith P. appeared for the Appellant before the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court while considering the serious injuries suffered by the Appellant, observed, "We are of the opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the case and looking to the serious injuries, prolonged hospitalisation and the pain, shock and suffering and trauma, which might have been suffered by the appellant – claimant, it would be just and proper to award Rs. 4,00,000/ under the head of pain, shock, and suffering."
The Court held that the High Court erred in awarding the future economic loss treating the income of the claimant at Rs. 3,000/- per month only.
The Bench further noted that the claimant was working as a mason and the permanent disability assessed by the High Court was at 100%. Therefore, even considering the minimum wages payable to mason and future rise in income, the claimant shall be entitled to economic loss past as well as future considering the income of the claimant at Rs. 5,000/- per month.
The Court held that looking at the age of the Appellant which was 40 years, a multiplier of 15 is required to be applied.
The Court thus enhanced the compensation amount to Rs. 15,42,800/- along with interest at 7.5% per annum and allowed the appeal.
Cause Title - Velayudhan v. National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.