Incidentally, though the claimant had sought compensation of Rs 5.15 crore, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Dharapuram, had awarded Rs 3.60 crore as compensation. But on an appeal moved by the Insurance company resisting the claim petition, a division bench comprising Justice KK Sasidharan and Justice R Subramanian on partly allowing the appeal and dismissing the cross-objections, modified the award of the tribunal by reducing it to Rs 2.59 crore.
According to the claimant D Neela, wife of the deceased LS Kumar, on January 8, 2010, Kumar met with an accident while travelling in a car along with two friends, after a lorry rammed into it. Kumar died on the spot. He was 33 and earned $63,987 per annum.
Contending that the deceased had bright future prospects and could have earned more but for his untimely death, the claimant had sought Rs 5.15 crore compensation.
The insurance company resisted this, contending that the accident occurred due to negligent driving and that the driver was not in possession of a valid licence. It was also contended that the educational qualifications and the income had been exaggerated to claim higher compensation. The tribunal, considering the age of the deceased, adopted a multiplier of 16 and arrived at the total loss dependency of Rs 3.59 crore and awarding a certain amount towards parents of the deceased, consortium and funeral expenses awarded Rs 3.60 crore along with an interest of 7.5 per cent per annum. The tribunal also apportioned the amount between the wife, father and brothers of the deceased.
However, the bench on citing an SC observation that in cases where the amount of compensation may go much higher than the amount required for providing the same amenities, comforts and facilities, the lesser multiplier may be applied, said, “We therefore fixed the multiplier at 13 instead of 16. We have already worked out the annual loss of dependency at Rs.19.87 Lakh and applying a multiplier of 13, the total loss of dependency would be Rs 2.58 crore.” Also, recording that the parents of the deceased are no more and that there is nothing on record to show that the brothers were dependent on him, the bench added, “We therefore conclude that the three brothers are not entitled to any share in the compensation that remains to be paid.”