Motor Accident Claim- SC Enhances Compensation Amount By 16 Times Towards Pain, Shock & Suffering
While enhancing the compensation amount towards pain, shock, & suffering from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 400000 in a Motor Accident claim, the Supreme Court's bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari has held the claimant to be entitled to a total sum of Rs. 62,35,000/ with 7.5% interest per annum.
In this case the appellant – original claimant had sustained multiple injuries in a vehicular accident due to which there was an amputation of right upper limb below elbow. During the prolonged hospitalization, he was required to undergo five operations.
The appellant approached the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal claiming Rs. 1,02,00,000/ for compensation under different heads. The Tribunal awarded a total sum of Rs. 6,68,000/ under different heads. While awarding future economic loss, the Tribunal determined and considered the income of the injured at Rs. 3,500/ per month.
In the appeal preferred by the claimant, the High Court enhanced the amount of compensation to Rs. 14,82,000/.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order passed by the High Court in determining and awarding only Rs. 14,82,000/ towards compensation, the appellant-claimant approached Supreme Court.
Advocate Neelam Singh appeared for the appellant whereas Advocate Sakshi Mittal represented the Insurance Company.
The Supreme Court noted that the appellant was serving as Merchant Navy and his salary at the relevant time was USD 1000.
On the High Court's observation that the claimant can still earn something, the Supreme Court noted that the claimant will not be able to do any work in Merchant Navy.
The Court further noted that the observation of the High Court that in Merchant Navy, usually the job is for six months in a year, was without any basis.
The Court also observed that "The High Court has also not considered the future rise in income. Under the circumstances and in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court ought to have awarded the future economic loss considering the loss of income at least at Rs. 30,000/ per month. Therefore, the total loss comes to Rs. 57,60,000/ (30000x12x16)."
The Court revised the compensation amount towards pain, shock and suffering from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 4 Lakh.
"…considering the five operations, prolonged hospitalization, and suffering, we are of the opinion that the amount of Rs. 25,000/ awarded by the High Court under the head of pain, shock, and suffering can be said to be on a lower side. In the facts and circumstances of the case, narrated hereinabove, we are of the opinion that the claimant shall be entitled to at least Rs. 4,00,000/ towards pain, shock, and suffering. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is to be modified accordingly.", the Court observed.
Therefore the Court ordered that the appellant– claimant shall be entitled to a total sum of Rs. 62,35,000/ with 7.5% interest per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till realization.
The Court directed the respondents to deposit the enhanced amount of compensation with the Tribunal within eight weeks to be paid to the original claimant – appellant.
Cause Title- Ramesh v. Karan Singh & Anr.