Insurance firm to pay compensation to injured worker
26 Mar, 2014 12:12 PM
Brushing aside technical objections raised by an insurance company, the Madras high court has asked it to pay compensation to a worker injured while on duty.

In 2005, D Sivasankar, a helper earning a monthly salary of 3,650, was shifting a granite stone weighing 50kg when he lost balance. The stone fell on his hand, injuring him grievously. He was administered 17 stitches at a private hospital and later shifted to a government hospital. Claiming he suffered a permanent disability of 15% and lost 17% of his earning capacity, he sought compensation.

The owner of the firm said the "injuries were superficial" and Sivasankar had not produced any documents to prove loss in his employment opportunities. Further, he was covered by a group insurance policy of Oriental Insurance. Sivasankar filed an insurance claim, but Oriental rejected it.

Sivasankar filed a complaint before the commissioner for workmen's compensation seeking a compensation of 1.5 lakh. Partly allowing the claim, the deputy commissioner of labour directed the insurance company to pay 53,394 to Sivasankar within 30 days.

Oriental Insurance moved the high court, saying since it was a group personal accident policy, it did not cover a claim under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Unless the policy specifically covered a claim under the Workmen's Compensation act, no direction could be issued for making the payment, it said. Counsel for Sivasankar said as the insurance policy was valid at the time of injury, there was no illegality in the order.

In a recent order, Justice R Mahadevan said an insurer could be directed to pay compensation even if it was not covered under the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. As Sivasankar was injured during employment, he was correct in approaching the commissioner. "The concept of insurance is to indemnify the insured against the claims," said the court.
Source : The Times Of India

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