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Disability from head injury not similar to limb injury: Karnataka HC 7.10.2022

File photo of Karnataka high court

BENGALURU: Disability arising out of a head injury cannot be treated like that caused by a limb injury and the court has to assess the actual disability, the Karnataka high court has said.

Increasing the compensation from Rs 1 1,39,340, with 6% interest per annum, awarded by a tribunal to Rs 44,92,140, Justice HP Sandesh in a recent judgment observed, “The tribunal lost sight of the nature of injuries and also the evidence on record, that too, when an expert has given evidence.”

The judge said that when the expert had assessed the disability suffered by claimant Alwin Lobo at 65%, the Karkala tribunal considered it at only 25% without assigning a reason.

On May 23, 2009, Alwin, a resident of Masthikatte in Moodabidri taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, and his brother were on their motorcycle when an autorickshaw being driven in a rash and negligent manner rammed into their two-wheeler.

Alwin sustained grievous injuries and had to be treated at several hospitals in Mangaluru as well as at Kundapur between 2009-13. He moved the tribunal and on June 20, 2015, a compensation of Rs11,39,340 was awarded and the liability for the same was fastened on National Insurance Company Limited.

Both the insurance company and Alwin challenged the said verdict. The insurance company claimed that facts had been twisted and claimant Alwin had actually fallen from the motorcycle.

On the other hand, Alwin argued that he had fallen after the autorickshaw hit his motorcycle. He further claimed that he was in the hospital for 58 days and spent Rs 5,24,139 on medical expenses alone but the tribunal had awarded less compensation.

Another contention put forth was that he was earning a salary of Rs 91,463 per month as a sales executive in Abu Dhabi but the tribunal had awarded only Rs 5.1 lakh towards loss of future income by incorrectly considering his monthly income as Rs 10,000.

After perusing the materials on record, Justice Sandesh has pointed out that the salary certificate placed before the court was of 2008 and cannot be taken into account. However, considering that Alwin was earning a good salary, the tribunal ought to have taken his monthly income as Rs 20,000 and also considered his young age, i.e., 29 at the time of the accident, he said.