Stating that the attendant trauma of the victim should be in the mind of the judge while deciding compensation, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal ordered over Rs 63 lakh in compensation to a 29-year-old man. He had met with an accident at the age of 23 and suffered serious physical and neurological ailments, becoming dependent on his family members for his daily routine.
In his plea through his father, claiming Rs 25 lakh as compensation, Salman Abdul Khan had stated that on April 4, 2015, he was on his way back from a bank on a motorcycle, with his friend riding pillion. Near Nirmal Estate Garden on Goregaon Link Road, an Omni car came from the opposite direction and knocked them down.
The Bhandup resident had appeared before the tribunal in a wheelchair during proceedings. His father had deposed that despite treatment his son suffers acute pain, giddiness, loss of balance and weakness. With 68 per cent permanent disability of which he produced a certificate from JJ hospital, he said his son had lost the ability to work.
Tribunal’s chairman SC Chandak said in his order that a serious injury often inflicts deep mental and emotional scars upon the victim and that due to the accident, injuries and operations the applicant would have suffered great pain, suffering and shock. “He has lost amenities and enjoyment of life to the disability at a very young age. This painful and disabled condition applicant would have to tolerate till he survives,” the tribunal noted.
The owner of the car had opposed the claim, saying that Khan was himself riding in a rash manner and had ventured into the lane of oncoming traffic, resulting in the mishap. The insurance company of the car had contended that the driver of the Omni did not possess a valid driving license and hence had breached its policy terms. The tribunal had relied on police papers to conclude that the road was sufficiently wide and that the Omni collided with the motorcycle from the opposite direction and hence that the driver was driving without sufficient lookout for traffic.
Regarding deciding the compensation, Chandak said that the attendant trauma of the victim having to live in a world entirely different from the one she or he is born into, as an invalid and with degrees of dependence on others, robbed of complete personal choice and autonomy, should forever be in the judge’s mind when tasked to adjudicate compensation claims.
The tribunal further stated, “Severe limitations inflicted due to such injuries undermine dignity (which is now recognised as an intrinsic component of the right to life under Article 21) of the individual, thus depriving the person of the essence of right to a wholesome life which he or she had lived hitherto. From the world of the able-bodied the victim is thrust into the world of the disabled, itself most discomfiting and unsettling.”
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