Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Court May Increase Quantum Of Compensation In Motor Accident Claim, Irrespective Of Who Files Appeal: Bombay High Court

Fatima Ansari
9 April 2022 5:30 AM GMT
Court May Increase Quantum Of Compensation In Motor Accident Claim, Irrespective Of Who Files Appeal: Bombay High Court
x

The Bombay High court recently dealt with an appeal by an Insurance Company against the quantum of compensation awarded to an accident victim under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The claimant, in the course of this appeal, raised the issue of insufficiency of the compensation awarded. Single Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre noted that though the claimant had not filed an appeal...

The Bombay High court recently dealt with an appeal by an Insurance Company against the quantum of compensation awarded to an accident victim under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The claimant, in the course of this appeal, raised the issue of insufficiency of the compensation awarded.

Single Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre noted that though the claimant had not filed an appeal for enhancement of compensation,

"The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial piece of legislation and provide for some solace to a victim, who meet with an accident or to the family of the victim who is a sufferer, when the bread-earner is disabled or succumb to the said accident. The duty of the Court in granting compensation to the victim or to his family, for its survival and meet the harnes is to ensure 'just' compensation, irrespective of whether any plea in that behalf was raised by the claimant."

The claimant, aged 24, was riding a motor cycle when he was hit by a truck coming from the opposite side. He sustained severe bodily injuries and multiple fractures, consequently, he was required to undergo multiple surgeries, which included a hip replacement surgery. His disability was assessed by the doctor as 83%.

It is the case of the claimant that even today, he is not completely recovered and suffers from a disability affecting his functional capacity at 100%, as he is unable to attend his daily routine and chores, without any assistance and is unable to pursue his work and business, which he was undertaking prior to the date of his accident. He claimed as compensation an amount of Rs.1,50,00,000/- under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, based on the disability incurred by him resulting into loss of earning capacity and also for compensating him the amount he had spent towards his treatment, which included the expenses of transportation, medicines, special diet and attendant for him to enable him to continue with his movements.

The Tribunal partly allowed the claim, holding the claimant entitled for compensation of Rs. 52,63,219/- with interest of 6% p.a. from the date of application till it's realization. The Insurance Company aggrieved by the quantum of compensation filed an appeal. The claimant had not filed any Appeal, against the inadequate amount of compensation awarded to him, yet at this stage he asked for an enhancement. This was opposed by the appellant, insurance company.

The single judge, in the wake of the settled legal position, did not have any hesitancy in accepting the submission of the the claimant that the Court on its motion is also empowered to enhance the compensation, if it is found that the compensation awarded is not 'just' compensation.

Claimant placed reliance upon the decision of United India Insurance Co. Ltd and Ors vs. Kunti Binod Pandey & ors, 2020(1) BCR, 629, where a similar objection was raised in an Appeal filed by the Insurance Company, challenging the judgment and award of compensation by the MACT, holding that it is a statutory obligation of the Tribunal and the Court to do complete justice and award, 'just compensation', it has been held that by Justice R.D. Dhanuka, that there can be no restriction to enhance compensation in appropriate case even in absence of cross-Appeal or cross-objection.

It also referred to Ranjana Prakash and ors vs. Divisional manager and Anr, where the Apex Court held that filing of substantive appeal or cross-objection by the claimant for seeking enhancement of the claims is not necessary.

In this light, the High Court granted twofold reliefs to the claimant:

Firstly, it increased the interest from @ 6% p.a. from the date of application till its realization to @ 9% p.a, in light of Apex Court case of Kaushnuma Begum & ors Vs. New India Assurance Co, 2001(1) SCR 8.

Secondly, it considered the overall circumstances for grant of the claim i.e. his age, income and future prospects, and concluded that he is entitled for a sum of Rs.5 lakhs for loss of amenities, and Rs Five lakhs for loss of expectation of life, over and above, the compensation which has been awarded to him by the Tribunal.

Case Title : Manager, National Insurance Co.Ltd v Shri Nilesh Suresh Bhandari and ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 126

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

Next Story