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The Role of Contributory Negligence in Motor Accident Cases

The appellate court, i.e the Chennai High Court upheld the contention of the respondent as to the contributory negligence of the deceased as accepted by the lower court.

Chennai High Court (Photo credit: Aleksandr Zykov)

                    The Role of Contributory Negligence in Motor Accident Cases

            The Chennai High Court has allowed an appeal on 30th June,2013, preferred in a Motor Accidents claim case in which it enhanced the compensation allowed by the lower court from 65 lakhs to Rs One Crore, Eighteen Lakhs.

            The deceased person in the motor accident was a high profile personality who died in a road accident while driving his car which was smashed in the road accident by a State Transport Corporation Bus.

            In the lower court the bone of contention between the claimant and the respondent was the contributory negligence of the deceased person.When the deceased entrepreneur was driving his own car, a Tata Indigo, he was accused of 20 % contributory negligence,since he drove his vehicle deviating the central line on the road and the driver of the State Transport Bus was accused of 80 % negligence in causing the accident.Accepting the contention of the respondent that the deceased had been a party to the contributory negligence by 20 % in causing the accident,the compensation was restricted and awarded at Rs 65 lakhs by the lower court.

            The appellate court, i.e the Chennai High Court upheld the contention of the respondent as to the contributory negligence of the deceased as accepted by the lower court.

            However,still the appellant contended that the lower court erred in not taking the deceased person’s actual monthly salary of Rs 2.25 lakhs per month into account by the lower court while awarding the compensation but only a sum of Rs 1.23 lakhs has been taken into account.Hence, the appellate court  after allowing reasonable deductions and taking the deceased entrepreneur’s monthly salary at Rs 1.40 lakhs, enhanced the compensation amount  from Rs 65 lakhs to Rs 1 crore,18 lakhs.

            Though it appears that the appellate court has allowed the above appeal by enhancing the compensation amount from Rs 65 lakhs to Rs 1 crore, 18 lakhs,on the basis of the actual salary of the deceased person, still the essence of the judgement pronounced by the Chennai High Court was that it upheld the contributory negligence on the part of the deceased person who was driving his car at the time of the accident, as alleged by the respondent which was accepted by the lower court.

            Therefore,in a motor accidents claim case, the contributory negligence plays a significant role in reducing the compensation amount.It is a powerful weapon used by a person who actually caused an accident.  

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