Sunday, September 2, 2012

Insurer goes to court over 5L compensation, pays 11L

Chennai: What does the right hand mean to a hairdresser? And, when a motor accident claims tribunal awards Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a hairdresser for loss of a hand, is the insurance company justified in questioning the quantum of the compensation?
    These were the issues before the Madras HC which heard an appeal by the state-run National Insurance Company. It had moved the HC saying a compensation of Rs 5.25 lakh, awarded to P Selvam, a hairdresser who lost his right hand while travelling in a bus, was exorbitant. Taking exception to the plea, the HC enhanced the compensation to Rs 11 lakh, payable along with interest.
    Justice S Vimala, dismissing the petition of the insurance major, said, “The importance of right hand in hair cutting profession is self-explanatory. The claimant being a hair dresser, the loss of his right hand means total isability.”
    Selvam was running a salon in Madurai, earning approximately Rs 7,000 a month. On September 1, 2003, while travelling in a state transport corporation bus in Madurai, a van coming in the opposite direction crushed Selvam’s right hand.
    When he approached the motor accidents claims tribunal seeking Rs 6 lakh as compensation, it awarded Rs 5.25 lakh, taking Rs 3,000 as his monthly income. The insurance company challenged the quantum of the compensation, saying the contributory negligence of the victim as well as the vehicles had not been considered by the tribunal, and that the entire compensation liability had been unfairly fixed on the insurance company.

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