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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

M.V. Act - COMPENSATION TO A CHILD = What is the just and fair compensation to be awarded to a child, who suffered disability in a motor accident, is the main point arising for consideration in this case.= In Kum. Michael vs. Regional Manager, Oriental Insurance Company Limited and Another[4], this Court considered the case of an eight year old child suffering a fracture on both legs with total disability only to the tune of 16%. It was held that the child should be entitled to an amount of Rs.3,80,000/- on these counts. 12. Though it is difficult to have an accurate assessment of the compensation in the case of children suffering disability on account of a motor vehicle accident, having regard to the relevant factors, precedents and the approach of various High Courts, we are of the view that the appropriate compensation on all other heads in addition to the actual expenditure for treatment, attendant, etc., should be, if the disability is above 10% and upto 30% to the whole body, Rs.3 lakhs; upto 60%, Rs.4 lakhs; upto 90%, Rs.5 lakhs and above 90%, it should be Rs.6 lakhs. For permanent disability upto 10%, it should be Re.1 lakh, unless there are exceptional circumstances to take different yardstick. In the instant case, the disability is to the tune of 18%. Appellant had a longer period of hospitalization for about two months causing also inconvenience and loss of earning to the parents. The appellant, hence, would be entitled to get the compensation as follows: - | HEAD |COMPENSATION AMOUNT | |Pain and suffering already |Rs.3,00,000/- | |undergone and to be suffered in | | |future, mental and physical shock, | | |hardship, inconvenience, and | | |discomforts, etc., and loss of | | |amenities in life on account of | | |permanent disability. | | |Discomfort, inconvenience and loss |Rs.25,000/- | |of earnings to the parents during | | |the period of hospitalization. | | |Medical and incidental expenses |Rs.25,000/- | |during the period of | | |hospitalization for 58 days. | | |Future medical expenses for |Rs.25,000/- | |correction of the mal union of | | |fracture and incidental expenses | | |for such treatment. | | |TOTAL:- |Rs.3,75,000/- | 13. The impugned judgment of the High Court in M.F.A. No. 1146 of 2008 is accordingly modified. The claimant will be entitled to a total compensation of Rs.3,75,000/- along with interest @ 6% per annum from the date of the petition. First respondent – Insurance Company is directed to deposit the enhanced compensation with interest as above within two months from today. On such deposit, it will be open to the appellant to approach the Tribunal for appropriate orders on withdrawal. The appeal is allowed as above.

                      published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40696
  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CIVIL  APPELLATE  JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.7139  OF 2013
               [Arising out of S.L.P.(Civil) No. 1676 of 2012]


Master Mallikarjun                           … Appellant (s)

                                   Versus

Divisional Manager, the National
Insurance   Company Limited & Anr.           … Respondent (s)


                               J U D G M E N T

KURIAN, J.:




      Leave granted.


   2. What is the just and fair compensation to be awarded to a  child,  who suffered disability in a motor accident, is the main point arising for consideration in this case.

THE UNDISPUTED FACTS

   3. Appellant at  the  age  of  12  years  was  hit  by  a  motorcycle  on
      05.06.2006. He suffered the following injuries: -
     a. (Right) lower 1/3 leg deformity, movements restricted diagnosis  of
        fracture.

     b. Two abrasions over  left  elbow  posteriorly  over  olecrenon  both
        measuring 4x1 cms.

     c. Abrasion over dorsal aspect  right  hand  at  the  basis  of  index
        finger.



   4. Negligence of the rider was proved. The child was treated as inpatient
      from 05.06.2006 to  01.08.2006,  for  58  days.  He  was  operated  on
      24.06.2006. Six months after the discharge, he was seen by the  doctor
      on 15.02.2007 for follow up. It is in evidence that  the  patient  had
      the following discomforts/ disabilities, i.e.:

      i.    Patient walks with limp on to the right side.

    ii. Puckered scar on and aspect of  middle  1/3  of  (Right)  leg  with
        operated scar on either side.

   iii. Shortening of right lower limb by 1.5 cms.

    iv. Limitation of right knee movements by 30 %.

     v. Muscle power around right knee Gr.IV against Gr.V.

    vi. Limitation of right ankle movement by 20%.

   vii. Muscle power around (right) ankle is Gr. IV against Gr.V.

  viii. Check X ray No. 3791 dated 15.02.2007 shows disunited  fracture  of
        right tibia with plate  and  screw  fixation  in  situ.  Mal  union
        fracture of right tibia.






   5. The surgeon had assessed the disability to the extent of 34% of  right
      lower limb and 18% to the whole body.

   6. The Motor Accidents Claims  Tribunal  in  a  petition  filed  claiming
      compensation to the tune of Rs.4,00,000/-, awarded compensation to the
      tune of Rs.63,500/- under the following heads:-




|HEAD                               |COMPENSATION AMOUNT             |
|Pain and suffering.                |Rs.25,000/-                     |
|Inconvenience caused to parents.   |Rs.10,000/-                     |
|Medical expenses.                  |Rs.4,500/-                      |
|Loss of future amenities.          |Rs.10,000/-                     |
|Conveyance, food nourishment       |Rs.4,000/-                      |
|expenses.                          |                                |
|Future surgery.                    |Rs.10,000/-                     |
|TOTAL:-                            |Rs.63,500/-                     |




   7. On approaching the  High  Court,  the  compensation  was  enhanced  to
      Rs.1,09,500/-. The enhancement was mainly  under  the  head  “Loss  of
      future amenities”  wherein  the  appellant  was  awarded  Rs.50,000/-.
      Appellant still not satisfied, filed this Special Leave Petition.

   8. It is unfortunate that both the Tribunal and the High Court  have  not
      properly appreciated the medical evidence available in the  case.  The
      age of the child and deformities on his body resulting in  disability,
      have not been duly taken note of.  As  held  by  this  Court  in  R.D.
      Hattangadi vs. M/s. Pest Control  (India)  Pvt.  Ltd.  and  Others[1],
      while assessing the non-pecuniary damages, the damages for mental  and
      physical shock, pain and  suffering  already  suffered  and  that  are
      likely to be suffered, any future damages for the loss of amenities in
      life like difficulty in running, participation in active sports, etc.,
      damages   on   account   of   inconvenience,   hardship,   discomfort,
      disappointment, frustration, etc., have to be addressed especially  in
      the case of a child victim.  For a child, the best part of his life is
      yet to come. While considering the claim by a victim child,  it  would
      be unfair and improper to follow the structured  formula  as  per  the
      Second Schedule to the Motor Vehicles Act for reasons more  than  one.
      The main stress in the formula is on pecuniary damages.  For  children
      there is no income. The only indication in the Second Schedule for non-
      earning persons is to take the  notional  income  as  Rs.15,000/-  per
      year. A  child  cannot  be  equated  to  such  a  non-earning  person.
      Therefore, the compensation  is  to  be  worked  out  under  the  non-
      pecuniary heads  in  addition  to  the  actual  amounts  incurred  for
      treatment done  and/or  to  be  done,  transportation,  assistance  of
      attendant, etc. The main elements of  damage  in  the  case  of  child
      victims are the pain,  shock,  frustration,  deprivation  of  ordinary
      pleasures and enjoyment associated with healthy and mobile limbs.  The
      compensation awarded should enable the child to acquire  something  or
      to  develop  a  lifestyle  which  will  offset  to  some  extent   the
      inconvenience or discomfort arising out of the disability. Appropriate
      compensation for disability should take care of all the  non-pecuniary
      damages. In other words, apart from this head, there shall only be the
      claim  for  the   actual   expenditure   for   treatment,   attendant,
      transportation, etc.

   9. Sapna vs. United Indian Insurance Company Limited  and  Another[2]  is
      the case of a 12 year old girl who suffered 90% disability in her left
      leg. This Court granted a lump sum amount of  Rs.2,00,000/-  on  these
      heads.

  10. In Iranna vs. Mohammadali Khadarsab Mulla and Another[3],
 a  Division
      Bench of the Karnataka High Court granted an amount  of  Rs.4,00,000/-
      on these heads to the child who suffered 80% permanent disability.

  11. In Kum. Michael  vs.  Regional  Manager,  Oriental  Insurance  Company
      Limited and Another[4], 
this Court considered the  case  of  an  eight
      year old child suffering a fracture on both legs with total disability
      only to the tune of 16%. 
It was held that the child should be entitled
      to an amount of Rs.3,80,000/- on these counts.

  12. Though it  is  difficult   to  have  an  accurate  assessment  of  the
      compensation in the case of children suffering disability  on  account
      of a motor vehicle accident, having regard to  the  relevant  factors,
      precedents and the approach of various High Courts, 
we are of the view
      that the appropriate compensation on all other heads  in  addition  to
      the actual expenditure for treatment, attendant, etc., should  be, 
 if the disability is 
above 10% and upto  30%  to  the  whole  body,  Rs.3 lakhs; 
upto 60%, Rs.4 lakhs; 
upto 90%, Rs.5 lakhs and  
above  90%,  it should be Rs.6 lakhs. 
For permanent disability upto 10%, 
it should  be Re.1  lakh,  
unless  there  are  exceptional  circumstances  to   take
different yardstick. 
In the instant case, the  disability  is  to  the
      tune of 18%. 
Appellant had a  longer  period  of  hospitalization  for
      about two months causing also inconvenience and loss of earning to the
      parents.  
The  appellant,  hence,  would  be  entitled  to   get   the
      compensation as follows: -
| HEAD                              |COMPENSATION AMOUNT            |
|Pain and suffering already         |Rs.3,00,000/-                  |
|undergone and to be suffered in    |                               |
|future, mental and physical shock, |                               |
|hardship, inconvenience, and       |                               |
|discomforts, etc., and loss of     |                               |
|amenities in life on account of    |                               |
|permanent disability.              |                               |
|Discomfort, inconvenience and loss |Rs.25,000/-                    |
|of earnings to the parents during  |                               |
|the period of hospitalization.     |                               |
|Medical and incidental expenses    |Rs.25,000/-                    |
|during the period of               |                               |
|hospitalization for 58 days.       |                               |
|Future medical expenses for        |Rs.25,000/-                    |
|correction of the mal union of     |                               |
|fracture and incidental expenses   |                               |
|for such treatment.                |                               |
|TOTAL:-                            |Rs.3,75,000/-                  |





  13. The impugned judgment of the High Court in M.F.A. No. 1146 of 2008  is
      accordingly modified.  
The  claimant  will  be  entitled  to  a  total
      compensation of Rs.3,75,000/- along with interest @ 6% per annum  from
      the date of the petition. 
First  respondent  –  Insurance  Company  is
      directed to deposit the enhanced compensation with interest  as  above
      within two months from today. 
On such deposit, it will be open to  the
      appellant  to  approach  the  Tribunal  for  appropriate   orders   on
      withdrawal. 
The appeal is allowed as above.

  14. There is no order as to costs.



…………….…..…………J.
                                             (GYAN SUDHA MISRA)




.……..……………………J.
                                             (KURIAN JOSEPH)
New Delhi;
August 26, 2013.





      -----------------------
[1]    (1995) 1 SCC 551
[2]    (2008) 7 SCC 613
[3]    2004 ACJ 1396
[4]    JT 2013 (3) SC 311

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                                                                  REPORTABLE


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