Be sensitive to accident victims, SC tells courts
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 20:21
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked courts to adopt a "sensitive" approach in awarding compenstion to those who suffer permanent disability in accidents and lose the capacity to eke out their future living.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly found fault with the approach of the Karnataka High Court for inadequately enhancing the compensation to a mason despite the medical report stating that the victim was totally incapacitated for future construction work.

The apex court noted that the high court had slightly enhanced the compensation awarded by the Tribunal for the purpose of future medical expenses but failed to consider the loss of earning capacity suffered by the victim B T Krishnappa.

"It is clear that High Court did no consider the appellant's case properly. It accepted the Tribunal's assessment of the body disability at 20% and observed that the Tribunal has paid compensation under the heads 'loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during laid up period' on the lower side.

"However, it awarded an additional compensation only for future medical expenditure and did not deal with the aspect of future loss of earnings at all, which we feel was not a correct approach," the apex court said in a judgement.

In this case, the victim suffered serious injuries in a road accident on January 1, 2006, resulting in permanent disability of the right leg.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded a compensation of Rs.1,55,000/-with 7.5 interest and on an appeal, the High Court enhanced the compensation by only Rs.34,000/- for meeting future medical expenses.

Aggrieved Krishnappa appealed in the apex court.

"The High Court's order starkly lacks in details on assessment of compensation under these heads. These areas need proper introspection and a more sensitive approach as the appellant being a mason and a workman represents the weaker section of the community. The appellant had suffered an irreversible damage to his right leg, which will pose difficulties for him in carrying out his avocation as a mason.

"Long expectation of life is connected with earning capacity. If earning capacity is reduced, which is the case in the present situation, that impacts life expectancy as well," the apex court said.

Hence, it referred the case to the high court for an expeditious and fresh appraisal of the amount of compensation due to the victim.


First Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 20:21

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