For Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation, Loss of Amenities Is Not Required When Disability Is Greater Than 50%: Supreme Court

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Excerpt

A full Bench of the Supreme Court held that when the disability of the victim is found to be more than 50%, an additional compensation under the head of loss of expectation of life is not required.

This is because a sufficient amount is to be calculated under the head of loss of prospects. 

Brief Facts 

The Appellant was injured in a road accident when he was riding his bicycle in Alappuzha-Kolam highway in Kerala. It is that for which he claims compensation. He filed a Petition before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Alappuzha under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It decided the disability of the Appellant to be 50% and awarded compensation.

An appeal was made to the High Court and it considered his disability to be 100% and awarded a rectified compensation. 

The Appellant filed an appeal for further enhancement of the compensation amount. 

Arguments Advanced 

The loss of prospects had not been calculated. Also, considering his age of thirty-four, a multiplier of 17 should be used as against 16 for the calculation of compensation.

Hence, the victim was found to be under-compensated.

Respondent’s Arguments

The insurance company points at the contributory negligence on the part of the Appellant. He was under the influence of alcohol. So, a reduction of 50% must be made to calculate compensation.

Further, calculation of his monthly income as 3500/- had been questioned under the principle of compensation. 

Court’s Observations 

The Court discarded the arguments by the insurance company as they do not have any legal basis.

The Bench opined that the High Court was wrong in not awarding any sum for the loss of prospects.

It referred to the case of Parminder Singh vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. to confirm that 50% of the income of the victim was to be taken into account as a loss of prospects. This amount is in addition to the calculated monthly income of the victim.

Disability of the Appellant was 100%, so his loss of future earnings would have to be calculated treating the income of the victim to be Rs.3500 per month, as calculated by the High Court. This amount has to be added by the loss of prospects at the rate of 40%, which would make it Rs.4900 per month. This calculation is based on the premise that the Appellant was self-employed.

The Court also awarded Rs.7,00,000 as a lump sum for medical attendant charges and expenses of medical treatment in the future.

The Court opined that as in the case of Raj Kumar vs. Ajay Kumar &, when compensation is awarded by treating loss of future earnings to be more than 50%, a separate compensation under the head of loss of amenities or loss of expectation of life was to be excluded. Hence, it reduced the amount under the loss of amenities from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 10,000.

Court’s Decision

The Bench increased the amount of compensation from Rs. 4,00,000 as awarded by the Tribunal to Rs. 20,26,800. It applied the multiplier of 16 and reduced the amount under the head of loss of amenities.


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