The Delhi High Court has awarded over Rs 1 crore as compensation to a 30-year-old woman who was left wheel-chair bound for the rest of her life after a road accident when she was a school-going girl in 2007.
Justice Najmi Waziri enhanced by around Rs 65 lakh the compensation of Rs 47.49 lakh awarded by a lower court to the woman who suffered a 100 per cent permanent disability because of injuries to the spine and both her lower limbs.
The court’s order came on appeals by the accident victim as well as the insurance company against the grant of compensation by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT).
While the victim sought enhancement of compensation, the insurer said the awarded amount was on the higher side.
The court, citing medical opinion, observed the victim suffered 100 per cent functional disability, which required “alertness and care” for all her life, and her condition was “not associated with the daily life of an ordinary person”.
In these circumstances, the court stated, a just and fair compensation is to be awarded so that she is put in a position as close as to what she could have been without the injury.
“The appellant was a 14 year old adolescent, enjoying all the fun of a school-going girl of her age, till the fateful afternoon of 1st December, 2007 when returning from school, she met with a debilitating motor-vehicular accident. She has been rendered wheelchair bound for the rest of her life,” said the court in a recent order.
“The award is enhanced by Rs.65,09,779/-. The total compensation awarded to the appellant-Jyoti Singh is Rs.1,12,59,389/- payable @7.5% p.a. w.e.f. 10.03.2008 i.e. the date of filing of the claim petition before the MACT, till its realization,” ordered the court.
The court said no ground was made out the by the insurer for reduction of the amount awarded by the MACT.
While enhancing the compensation amount, the court noted the victim has to be reimbursed for lifetime sanitary expenses, such as diapers, pads, sanitary sheets, regular changing of bed-sheets, wet wipes etc and rejected the trial court’s opinion that this expense can be covered through interest on fixed deposits.
“The earnings from FDRs are from monies which has already been awarded to her over which the insurer cannot have any right, claim or say. The awardee has absolute right over utilisation of the same. The interest earned cannot be adjusted to set-off the liability of the person who is to pay compensation. This will be a life-time expense,” the court observed.
The court also noted that expenses would be incurred towards attendants round-the-clock, physiotherapy, wheelchair and special diet.
Compensation for loss of marriage prospects, loss of expectation of life, loss of amenities of life as well as pain and suffering was also counted by the court.
The court directed the insurer to pay the enhanced amount to the victim within eight weeks.