CHENNAI: Driving home the message that not wearing a helmet would also be deemed contributory negligence leading to death or injuries in a road accident and that it would reduce the compensation sum, a division Bench of Madras High Court reduced by Rs 50,000 the compensation granted by a lower court.
Mani Raj (51), working in a private firm and drawing a monthly salary of Rs 34,000, met with an accident involving a car on GST Road in Chitlapakkam while riding a two-wheeler on November 16, 2007. He moved the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Additional District Judge) Fast Track Court-I in Poonamalleee, demanding a compensation of Rs 48 lakh. After noting that the claimant had suffered 100 pert cent disability, the lower court awarded a compensation of Rs 35.50 lakh on November 17, 2011.
The National Insurance Company, Chennai moved the Madras High Court and submitted that the tribunal had failed to note that the accident had occurred only because of the negligence of Mani Raj in not wearing a helmet. Hence, he was guilty of contributory negligence and wanted the compensation sum reduced.
On the other hand, Mani Raj’s counsel demanded enhancement of the compensation as the lower court had not granted any compensation under the heads pain and suffering, mental agony, amenities and nutritious food.
Rejecting the submission, the Bench of Justices R Sudhakar and S Vaidyanathan said the compensation granted by the lower court for pecuniary loss was on the higher side and the same would supplant other heads. As far as the plea by the insurance company counsel that the claimant was responsible for contributory negligence, the Bench said that only because the claimant failed to wear a helmet, he had sustained the grievous injuries. “On such reasoning, we are inclined to interfere with the award of the tribunal and reduce Rs 50,000 from the total compensation granted,” the Bench asserted.