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DRIVERS’ LEG GETTING PERMANENTLY INJURED IS 100% FUNCTIONAL DISABILITY- SC

SRI CHANAPPA NAGAPPA MUCHALAGODA VS. DIVISIONAL MANAGER, NEW INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9306 OF 2019 (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NO. 31909 OF 2017)

December 10, 2019

The appeal was brought before Supreme Court of India before the bench consisting of Honourable Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Honourable Justice Indu Malhotra.

The present Civil Appeal has been filed by the Appellant – Claimant for enhancement of the compensation awarded to him by the Karnataka High Court (Dharwad Bench) under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE

The appellant, a driver of heavy vehicles, was employed by on Sekar Santharam. While her was driving a truck bearing No. MH-08H-0390 loaded with sand from Islampura towards Ratnagiri, he lost control of the truck due to an axle cut and dashed against a rock on the side of the road. Consequently, the truck turtled thrice, and the Appellant suffered grievous injuries all over his body rendering him unable to walk again. The truck was insured with the Respondent, that is, the Insurance Company.

The Commissioner assessed the Appellant’s income at Rs. 3,000/- per month and held that he had lost 50% of his earning capacity. Since the Appellant was 33 years old at the time of the accident, 201.66 was taken as the relevant factor as per Schedule IV to the Act. Accordingly, the compensation was computed at Rs. 1,81,494/-. The Respondent, the Insurance Company was held liable to pay the amount awarded.

OBSERVATION MADE BY THE COURT

The court affirmed the judgment of the High Court on assessing the income of the Appellant at Rs. 4,000/- per month as per the evidence of his employer. The “functional disability” of the Appellant was assessed as 100%, and the relevant factor would be 201.66 as per Schedule IV to the Act. Consequently, the compensation payable to the Appellant would work out to Rs. 4,83,984/- under Section 4 of the Act. It was found that the Appellant had not been awarded any amount towards reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred by him, either by the Commissioner, or by the High Court. The Appellant underwent hospitalization for a period of 65 days for medical treatment and surgical operations. It was deemed just and appropriate to award a lump sum amount of Rs. 1,00,000/- towards hospitalization and medical expenses incurred by the Appellant. The court also relied up on  K. Janardhan v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. and S. Suresh v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.

JUDGMENT DELIVERED

Thereby, this Honorable Court, after going through the facts and circumstances of the case the Hon’ble Court delivered its judgment as under,

“The Respondent – Insurance Company was directed to pay the enhanced amount of compensation to the Appellant along with Interest @6% p.a. to be calculated one month from the date of the accident till the date of payment within 4 weeks. The Civil Appeal stands allowed in the aforesaid terms. All pending Applications, if any, are accordingly disposed of. Ordered accordingly.” View/ Download Judgment: Srichanappa Nagappa Muchalagoda v. Divisional Manager, New India Insurance company Ltd.

         – Tanvi Srivatsan

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