Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Loss in earning capacity and not degree of disability is considered in deciding compensation: Madras HC

Madras High Court has while hearing an appeal against a poor disability compensation in a motor accident claim case recently held that while computing compensation in motor accident cases, the loss of earning capacity of the victim should outweigh the extent of disability.

Enhancing the compensation by 2 lakh to the injured driver, Justice R Mahadevan said,  “In cases of compensation, it is not the disability, which could be partial or total, alone that matters. It is the loss in earning capacity as a result of the accident that is to be considered.”
 
In the instant case R Murali, driver of a concrete mixing vehicle, met with an accident in January 2009 and suffered injuries in hip, right leg and ankle. He claimed to have suffered 100% loss in his earning capacity and sought appropriate compensation along with 12% interest.  However, as the disability certificate issued by a doctor pegged the percentage of his disability at 60%, the Deputy Commissioner of Labour awarded only Rs 3.12 lakh as compensation, by fixing his monthly income at Rs 4,000.

The driver, aggrieved by the poor compensation package, approached the high court.  Opposing enhancement of compensation, counsel for the insurance company said Murali could walk and his disability was only 60%. Even though he is incapable of driving, he can go for some other job, the insurance firm argued and sought dismissal of the appeal.

Justice Mahadevan, disagreeing with the findings of the Deputy Commissioner of Labour as well as the submissions of the insurance company’s counsel, said they had failed to discuss the applicability of “total disablement”.

The judge while distinguishing “disability” in medical parlance and “disability” vis-a-vis earning capacity, said, “Considering the injury on the hip, right leg and ankle, Murali can no longer drive a vehicle as he cannot exercise absolute control over it.”

Source: Times of India

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