Chennai: While computing compensation in accident cases, the loss of earning capacity of the victim should outweigh the extent of disability, the Madras high court has said.
Justice R Mahadevan, enhancing the compensation payable to an injured driver by more than Rs 2 lakh last week, has 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.”

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 Rs 3.12 lakh as compensation, by fixing his monthly income at Rs 4,000. Aggrieved by the poor compensation package, Murali 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”.

Distinguishing “disability” in medical parlance and “disability” vis-a-vis earning capacity, the judge 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.”

Courtesy: Times News Network