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Benson George vs. Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. Anr. - (Supreme Court) (25 Feb 2022)

Multiple factors are required to be considered while awarding compensation, there cannot be straight jacket formula


Motor Vehicles

The original claimant has preferred the present appeal with the prayer to enhance the amount of compensation feeling dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court.

It is not in dispute and it has come on record that in a vehicular accident the claimant sustained grievous brain injuries. That he was hospitalized for a number of months. That he has undergone MRI, CT scans and X-¬rays. The claimant underwent multiple surgeries. Considering the prolonged hospitalization and medical treatment and that the claimant underwent multiple surgeries, present Court is of the opinion that the High Court has erred in awarding Rs.2, 00,000¬ only under the head pain and suffering. The pain, suffering and trauma suffered by the claimant cannot be compensated in terms of the money. However, still it will be a solace to award suitable compensation under different heads including the pain, shock and suffering, loss of amenities and happiness of life.

In the facts and circumstances of the case due to the prolonged hospitalization and the multiple brain injuries/injuries sustained by the claimant and that he is still in coma and is bedridden, present Court is of the opinion that if the amount of compensation under the head of pain, shock and suffering is enhanced to Rs.10, 00,000, it can be said to be a reasonable amount under the head pain, shock and suffering.

Similarly, the amount of Rs.1, 00,000 awarded by the High Court under the head loss of amenities and happiness can also be said to be on lower side. No amount can compensate the loss of amenities and happiness more particularly a person who is in coma since number of years and is bedridden for the entire life.

There cannot be straight jacket formula in determining the amount of compensation to be awarded under the heads, pain and suffering and loss of amenities and happiness. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it varies from person to person who has suffered due to the accident. So far as awarding compensation on the head of pain, shock and suffering is concerned, multiple factors are required to be considered namely, prolonged hospitalization; the grievous injuries sustained; the operations underwent and the consequent pain, discomfort and suffering. Similarly, loss of amenities and happiness suffered by the claimant and his family members also depend upon various factors, including the position of the claimant post¬-accident and whether, he is in a position to enjoy life and/or happiness which he was enjoying prior to the accident.

To what extent the claimant has lost the amenities in life and the happiness will depend on the facts of each case. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, when the claimant is in coma even after a period of eight long years and that he will have to be permanently bedridden during his entire life, the amount of compensation awarded under the head loss of amenities and happiness of Rs.1,00,000¬ only is unreasonable and meagre.

The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is modified to the extent and it is held that the original claimant shall be entitled to a total sum of Rs.1,41,94,333¬ with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing the claim petition till realization. Appeal allowed in part.


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