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Position Of Claimant Post Accident Relevant Factor To Determine Compensation Under Head Of 'Loss Of Amenities & Happiness': Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
25 Feb 2022 2:13 PM GMT
Position Of Claimant Post Accident Relevant Factor To Determine Compensation Under Head Of Loss Of Amenities & Happiness: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the position of the claimant post accident is a relevant factor for determining compensation on the head of loss of amenities and happiness.The bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna enhanced compensation awarded to a person who is in coma for eight years to Rs. Ten lakhs each under heads of the pain, shock & suffering and loss of amenities...

The Supreme Court observed that the position of the claimant post accident is a relevant factor for determining compensation on the head of loss of amenities and happiness.

The bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna enhanced compensation awarded to a person who is in coma for eight years to Rs. Ten lakhs each under heads of the pain, shock & suffering and loss of amenities and happiness of life.

"The pain, suffering and trauma suffered by the claimant cannot be compensated in terms of the money. However, still it will be a solace to award suitable compensation under different heads including the pain, shock and suffering, loss of amenities and happiness of life", the court said.

In a vehicular accident which occurred on 01.01.2013 the claimant sustained grievous brain injuries. He underwent brain surgery. Though he was discharged from the Hospital, he remained in coma even till the claim petition was filed. The High Court, in this case, enhanced the amount of compensation from 94,37,300/-­ to Rs.1,24,94,333/-­ under different heads. However, it awarded Rs.2,00,000/­ only under the head pain and suffering and Rs.1,00,000/­ only under the head of loss of future amenities and happiness.

The Apex Court bench, in appeal filed by the claimant, observed that, due to the prolonged hospitalization and the multiple brain injuries/injuries sustained by the claimant and that he is still in coma and is bedridden. The court also noted the contention of the insurance company that when compensation is awarded by treating the loss of future earning capacity as 100%, only a token or nominal amount may have to be awarded under the head of loss of amenities or loss of expectation of life, as otherwise there may be a duplication in the award of compensation.

It observed that the amount of compensation to be awarded under the heads, pain and suffering and loss of amenities and happiness, there cannot be straight jacket formula. The bench said:

"It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it varies from person to person who has suffered due to the accident. So far as awarding compensation on the head of pain, shock and suffering is concerned, multiple factors are required to be considered namely, prolonged hospitalization; the grievous injuries sustained; the operations underwent and the consequent pain, discomfort and suffering.  Similarly, loss of amenities and happiness suffered by the claimant and his family members also depend upon various factors, including the position of the claimant post­accident and whether, he is in a position to enjoy life and/or happiness which he was enjoying prior to the accident. To what extent the claimant has lost the amenities in life and the happiness will depend on the facts of each case."

Modifying the High Court judgment, the bench held that the claimant shall be entitled to a total sum of Rs.1,41,94,333/-­ with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing the claim petition till realization.

Headnotes

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Motor Accident Compensation - Awarding compensation on the head of pain, shock and suffering - Factors to be considered - Prolonged hospitalization; the grievous injuries sustained; the operations underwent and the consequent pain, discomfort and suffering - There cannot be straight jacket formula. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it varies from person to person who has suffered due to the accident. (Para 8)

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Motor Accident Compensation - Awarding compensation on the head of Loss of amenities and happiness suffered by the claimant and his family members - Factors - The position of the claimant post­ accident and whether, he is in a position to enjoy life and/or happiness which he was enjoying prior to the accident. To what extent the claimant has lost the amenities in life and the happiness will depend on the facts of each case. (Para 8.1)

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Motor Accident Compensation - Claimant is in coma even after a period of eight long years and that he will have to be permanently bedridden during his entire life - The amount of compensation awarded under the head loss of amenities and happiness of Rs.1,00,000/­ only is unreasonable and meagre - Enhanced to Rs.10,00,000/- The pain, suffering and trauma suffered by the claimant cannot be compensated in terms of the money. However, still it will be a solace to award suitable compensation under different heads including the pain, shock and suffering, loss of amenities and happiness of life - The amount of compensation under the head of pain, shock and suffering is enhanced to Rs.10,00,000/­-. (Para 7 ,8.1)

Case:  Benson George vs Reliance General Insurance Co.Ltd. | CA 1540 OF 2022 | 25 February 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 214

Coram: Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna


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