Insurance company challenges compensation awarded by tribunal, ends up paying four times more
Bengaluru: An insurance company which challenged the compensation of Rs 11.39 lakh awarded by a Motor Vehicle Claims Tribunal in a road accident case has been ordered by the Karnataka High Court (HC) to pay around Rs 45 lakh to the victim.
The National Insurance Company approached the HC with an appeal against the 2015 judgment of the Motor Vehicle Tribunal which ordered it to pay compensation of Rs 11,39,340 to one Alwin Lobo, an engineering student.
Lobo was travelling with his brother on a motorbike which was involved in an accident with an auto-rickshaw. He sustained severe injuries and spent several months in hospital. He sustained “permanent injury” to his head as well.
The compensation awarded was challenged by the company which claimed that driver Lokesh Gowda was a neighbour of Lobo and, to help them get compensation, the accident was made up.
It claimed that only the two-wheeler was involved in the accident and not the auto-rickshaw. Being the insurer of the auto-rickshaw, it was ordered to pay compensation.
Justice H P Sandesh, who heard the petition, in his recent judgment, said: “In order to come to a conclusion that it was a case of fraud and implication of the vehicle, no ample material is placed before the Court. When such being the case, I do not find any ground to reverse the findings of the Tribunal…”
Though the victim had not appealed for enhancement of compensation, the HC invoked a rule from the Civil Procedure Code.
“In an appeal filed by the insurance company, the Court can invoke order 41, Rule 33 of CPC, if injustice is caused to the victim or deceased while awarding compensation,” it said.
The HC found reasons to enhance the compensation, the most important being the head injury of the victim.
“While the claimant has sustained a number of injuries and the doctor is also examined before the Tribunal, the same is not accepted by the Tribunal. The petitioner has permanent physical disability at 65 per cent. But, without assigning any reason, the Tribunal has reduced the disability to 25 per cent. In a case of head injury, the disability cannot be converted as like an injury to limb and the Court has to take the actual disability,” the HC noted.
Raising the compensation on various heads, the HC ordered, “The claimant is entitled for compensation of Rs 44,92,140 as against Rs.11,39,340 awarded by the Tribunal.”
However, the interest payable for the amount from 2009 was reduced from eight per cent to six per cent taking note of the interest rate prevailing in nationalised banks.