ASSESSMENT OF COMPENSATION
The courts can only grant compensation for the pecuniary and monetary loss caused and some other expenses, but no court can even attempt to grant compensation for loss of life or limb. Mainly pecuniary loss has to be assessed. The long expectation of life is connected to the earning capacity of the individual. In its very nature whenever a tribunal or a court is required to fix the amount of compensation in cases of accidents it involves some guesswork, some hypothetical consideration, some amount of sympathy linked with the nature of the disability caused. All of these are to be considered with objective standard though. There cannot be a uniform rule for measuring the value of human life. Damage of life and limb cannot be ascertained by any mathematical calculation.
HOW TO ASSESS DAMAGES
Damages are to be calculated under two heads- Pecuniary Damages and Special or General Damages.
Pecuniary Damages may include expenses incurred by the claimant on:
- Medical treatment, attendance, transportation, special diet, etc;
- The actual loss of earning of profit up to the date of trial; Future loss of earning
Non- pecuniary Damages include:
- Damages for mental and physical shock, pain and suffering already suffered or likely to be suffered in the future;
- Damages to compensate for the loss of amenities of life which may include a variety of matters, i.e., on account of injury the claimant may not be able to walk, run or sit.
The following factors have to be considered by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal while awarding compensation to victims:
In case of death of a person:
- The income of the deceased per annum should be ascertained. Then appreciation is to be given to the ascertained income. Out of the said determined and appreciated income a deduction of 1/3 is to be made with regard to the amount which the deceased would have spent on him by way of personal and living expenses. The balance is considered as the contribution of the deceased to the dependant family.
- Having regard to the age of deceased and active career, the multiplication method should be selected and applied to the balance. Determination of multiplier depends upon various other factors such as (a) age of claimant (b) marital status (c) education and employment of the claimants (d) loss of pecuniary benefits
- The life expectancy of legal representatives and beneficiaries has to be determined in order to assess the recoverable amount
In case of injuries/disabilities:
Injuries or disabilities cause deprivation to the body which results in losses, entitling the claimant to claim damages. The damages may vary according to the gravity and nature of the disability or of injuries suffered.
The damages can be pecuniary as well as non-pecuniary. But all sorts of damages have to be converted into rupees and paisa. The court has to make a judicious attempt (application of judicial mind) to award the damages, so as to compensate the claimant for the loss actually suffered by him. There must be an active endeavour to secure some kind of uniformity and consistency.
The process of assessment of the compensation is to be guided by way of applying precedents on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The object of the act is to provide “just compensation” to the victim and his family and not to award “exorbitant claim”.
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