SC Enhances Compensation Towards Loss Of Future Amenities & Income Granted By HC In Motor Accident Case
The Supreme Court while dealing with an appeal filed against the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. in which the appellant sought the correctness of the judgment and award passed by the Karnataka High Court reassessed the compensation in terms of loss of future amenities and loss of income and enhanced the compensation granted by the High Court.
The Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna stated –
"PW-2- doctor, who treated the appellant- claimant has assessed permanent disability of 54% which we find is on the higher side. As the claimant sustained comminuted fracture of tibia bones of both legs, we assess the whole-body disability at 30%. We also propose to enhance the compensation under the heads of pain and suffering due to two surgeries undergone and future surgeries to be undergone. Also towards loss of future amenities and towards loss of income during laid up period for a period of twelve months compensation is enhanced."
The Bench further held –
"… we propose to reassess the compensation … The aforesaid compensation shall carry interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till realization."
Advocate Devasa & Co. represented the appellant while Advocate Satyendra Kumar appeared for the respondent.
In this case, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs. 21,08,400/- with interest at 8% p.a. in respect of an accident that occurred in the year 2015. Being aggrieved by the reduction in the total compensation by the High Court from Rs.21,08,400/- to Rs.7,37,604/- with interest at the rate of 6% p.a., the injured claimant i.e., the appellant filed the appeals before the Supreme Court.
On May 15, 2015, at about 03:35 p.m., the appellant was travelling in the Tanker Lorry as a cleaner from Kidlike to Hassan along with driver. On NH-4 flyover, near the RTO Office, Chitradurga, the driver of the tanker lorry drove the same in a rash and negligent manner and with high speed and dashed into the hind portion of another lorry, as a result of which, the appellant sustained a fracture of tibia bones of both legs and other injuries on his body. He was shifted to B.M.C. Hospital and Research Centre where he took treatment and thereafter took follow-up treatment as an outpatient. During treatment, he underwent surgery of both legs and rod and screws were inserted.
It was contended by the appellant that he became permanently disabled and is unable to discharge his duties as a cleaner in the tanker lorry that led to both physical and financial damage. It was also contended that the assessment of permanent physical disability should be at 54% but the High Court has erroneously reduced the same to 20%.
The Supreme Court while dealing with this matter relied upon the case of Raj Kumar v. Ajay Kumar and Another (2011) 1 SCC 343 wherein the general principles relating to compensation in injury cases, assessment of loss of future earnings on account of permanent disability, and, assessment of compensation in injury cases were discussed at length.
The Court further noted –
"Applying the aforesaid principles to the instant case, it is noted that the appellant herein let in his evidence as PW-1 and his doctor (Dr. M.S. Rajesh) was examined as PW-2. He produced documents at Exhibit-P1 to Exhibit-P126 in support of their evidence. On the other hand, the respondents did not lead any evidence. However, a copy of the Exhibit -R1, i.e., Insurance Policy was exhibited by consent."
The Court while enhancing the compensation held –
"In the result, the judgment and award passed by the High Court is modified by enhancing the award of compensation to the appellant herein from Rs.7,37,604/- to Rs.11,67,405/- which shall carry interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing of claim petition till realization. The amount shall be deposited within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of certified copy of this judgment. On deposit of the said amount, the Tribunal shall deposit a sum of Rs.3,00,000/- in any nationalized bank for a period of five years."
Accordingly, the Court partly allowed the appeals.
Cause Title - T. J. Parameshwarappa @ Parameshwarappa @ J.T. Parameshwarappa @ Talalkena Gowdra Parameshwarappa v. The Branch Manager, New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Ors.