LALAN D. @ LAL AND ANOTHER Vs. ORIENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Lalan D. @ Lal And Another
ORIENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED
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ANIRUDDHA BOSE, J. -
(1.)The appellants before us are a victim of a road accident and his wife. The first appellant is the victim. The accident occurred on 31st December 2003 while the victim was riding his bicycle along the side of Alappuzha-Kolam highway. At the time of institution of the claim petition before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Alappuzha under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (the Act), out of which this appeal arises, the first appellant was unconscious and was represented by his wife as the legal guardian and next friend. She was also a co-applicant before the Tribunal. It was claimed before the forum of first instance that the victim was skilled labourer in a building construction project. His date of birth is 20th May 1969. Before the Tribunal, his age at the time of accident was found to be above 34 years. He suffered, inter-alia, head injury causing brain concussion, brain stems injury, diffuse axonial injury on left side. He had to undergo extensive treatment in two hospitals, being Medical College Hospital, Vandanam, Alappuzha and thereafter at Medical Trust Hospital, Ernakulam. He had to spend about six weeks in these two hospitals. Thereafter also his treatment continued. The claim was not contested by the first respondent -the owner of the vehicle and was decided ex-parte against him. Before us also, it was only the insurance company who contested the appeal. The first respondent was deleted from the array of the parties by an order of this Court passed on 9th April, 2019. The Tribunal found involvement of the vehicle registered as KL-2/No.9779. Rash and negligent driving by the driver of that vehicle was also proved. As regards condition of the first appellant, the Tribunal, in its award, found that the victim had "right aided Hemiparalesis and there is weakness on the other side also. He is completely bed ridden and he could not speak properly and he has some mental problem also. Tube was fitted for the passage of urine...". The Tribunal in its award made on 20th January, 2009 assessed permanent disability of the appellant to be 50%.
(2.)Compensation was awarded by the Tribunal under following heads, applying the multiplier of 17:
(3.)The victim and his wife appealed to the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam seeking enhancement of compensation. The High Court considered certain additional documents. The appellant established before the High Court the need to continue his treatment subsequent to the award of the Tribunal. It was opined in the judgment of the High Court delivered on 16th March, 2017, that the condition of the appellant was such that it was more than sufficient to arrive at a finding that he was virtually lying as vegetable. The victim had permanent locomotor disability of right hemiplegia sequelae of head injury which was not likely to improve. The High Court found that the victim needed a full-time caregiver as he was not in a position to move around on free will. The High Court assessed the degree of disability to be reckoned as 100% for working out proper compensation and applied the multiplier of 16 considering his age. We shall reproduce the High Court's decision on quantum of compensation in the next paragraph of this judgment.
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