Tag Archives: accident

Accident – Meaning of

A line of precedents, have dealt with the meaning of the expression “accident”. In Union of India v. Sunil Kumar Ghosh, (1984) 4 SCC 246 it was held that:

“An accident is an occurrence or an event which is unforeseen and startles one when it takes place but does not startle one when it does not take place. It is the happening of the unexpected, not the happening of the expected, which is called an accident. In other words, an event or occurrence the happening of which is ordinarily expected in the normal course by almost everyone undertaking a rail journey cannot be called an “accident”. But the happening of something which is not inherent in the normal course of events, and which is not ordinarily expected to happen or occur, is called a mishap or an accident.”

In a subsequent decision in ESI Corpn. v. Francis De Costa , 1993 Supp (4) SCC 100, the expression “accident” was defined as follows:

“The popular and ordinary sense of the word “accident” means the mishap or an untoward happening not expected and designed to have an occurrence is an accident. It must be regarded as an accident, from the point of view of the workman who suffers from it, that its occurrence is unexpected and without design on his part, although either intentionally caused by the author of the act or otherwise.”

The same principle was adopted in Jyothi Ademma v. Plant Engineer , (2006) 5 SCC 513, where it was held as under :

“The expression “accident” means an untoward mishap which is not expected or designed.”

P. Ramanatha Aiyar’s Law Lexicon, 3rd Edn., 2012, defines the expression “accident”:

“an event that takes place without one’s foresight or expectation; and event that proceeds from an unknown cause, or is an unusual effect of a known cause, and therefore not expected, chance, causality, contingency.”

The above Law Lexicon, relying on Lovelace v. Travelers’ Protective Assn., 47 Am St Rep 638 : 126 Mo 104 (1894), defines the expression “death by accident” as:

“Death from any unexpected event which happens, as by chance, or which does not take place according to the usual course of things.”

In order to constitute an accident, the event must be in the nature of an occurrence which is unnatural, unforeseen or unexpected.     National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mousumi Bhattacharjee, (2019) 5 SCC 391

Leave a comment

Filed under accident

Composite Negligence and Contributory Negligence – Difference Between

Composite Negligence refers to the negligence on the part of two or more persons. Where a person is injured as a result of negligence on the part of two or more wrongdoers, it is said that the person was injured on account of the composite negligence of those wrongdoers. In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them. In such a case, the injured need not establish the extent of responsibility of each wrongdoer separately. On the other hand where a person suffers injury, partly due to the negligence on the part of another person or persons, and partly as a result of his own negligence, then the negligence of the part of the injured which contributed to the accident is referred to as his contributory negligence. When the injured is guilty of some negligence, his claim for damages is not defeated merely by reason of the negligence on his part but the damages recoverable by him in respect of the injuries stands reduced in proportion to his contributory negligence. Khenyei v. New India Assurance Company Ltd., 2015 (3) AWC 2945.

Leave a comment

Filed under Civil Law, Negligence

Workman – Accident and Injury

‘Accident’ and ‘Injury’ are distinct in cases where accident is an event happening externally to a man, eg., when a workman falls from the ladder and suffers injury. The less obvious cases of accident are strain causing rupture, bursting of aneurism, failure of muscular action of the heart, exposure to draught causing chill, etc. Such accidents can be called as internal accidents. In such cases, it is hardly possible to distinguish between the ‘accident’ and ‘injury’. The rupture is an accident, at the same time injury leading to death or incapacity at once or after a lapse of time. Thus in cases of internal accidents, “Accident” and “Injury” coincide. But the common factor in all cases of accident, whether internal or external is some concrete happening at a definite point of time and incapacity resulting from such happening. An accident happening to a person in or about any premises at which, he is for the time being employed for the purpose of his Employer’s trade or business shall be deemed to raise out of and in the course of employment.
At times accident need not be due to immediate cause or as a result of collusion or sudden mishap. Even a non-spontaneous injury resulting in death or causing injury to workman during the course or arising out of employment can also be termed as accidental injury.
The word ‘Injury’ includes physiological injury. The physiological injury suffered by a workman due mainly to the progress of a disease unconnected with employment, may amount to an injury arising out of and in the course of employment if the work which the workman was doing at the time of the occurrence of the injury contributed to its occurrence. The connection between the injury and employment may be furnished by ordinary strain of ordinary work if the strain did in fact contribute to or accelerate or hasten the injury. M.D., Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation v. Jayalakshmi, 2014 (142) FLR 978.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accident and Injury, Labour Law

Composite Negligence and Contributory Negligence – Difference Between

‘Composite Negligence’ refers to the negligence on the part of two or more persons. Where a person is injured as a result of negligence on the part of two or more wrong doers, it is said that the person was injured on account of the composite negligence of those wrongdoers. In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them. In such a case, the injured need not establish the extent of responsibility of each wrongdoer separately, nor is it necessary for the court to determine the extent of liability of each wrongdoer separately. On the other hand where a person suffers injury, partly due to the negligence on the part of another person or persons and partly as a result of his own negligence, then the negligence on the part of the injured which contributed to the accident is referred to as his ‘contributory negligence’. Where the injured is guilty of some negligence, his claim for damages is not defeated merely by reason of the negligence on his part but the damages recoverable by him in respect of the injuries stand reduced in proportion to his contributory negligence. Pawan Kumar v. Harkishan Dass Mohan Lal and others, (2014) 3 SCC 590.

Leave a comment

Filed under Composite Negligence, Negligence

“Negligence”, “Culpable Rashness” and “Culpable Negligence”

“Negligence” means omission to do something which a reasonable and prudent person guided by the consideration which ordinarily regulate human affairs would do or doing something which a prudent and reasonable person guided by similar considerations would not do. Negligence is not an absolute term but is a relative one; it is rather a comparative term. It is difficult to state with precision any mathematically exact formula by which negligence or lack of it can be infallibly measured in a given case. Whether there exists negligence per se or the course of conduct amounts to negligence will normally depend upon the attending and surrounding facts and circumstances which have to be taken into consideration by the court. In a give case, even doing what one was ought to do can constitute negligence.
“Culpable Rashness” is acting with the consciousness that mischievous and illegal consequences may follow but with the hope that they will not and often with the belief that the actor has taken sufficient precautions to prevent their happening. The imputability arises from acting despite consciousness (luxuria).
“Culpable negligence” is acting without the consciousness that the illegal and mischevious effect will follow, but in circumstances which show that the actor has not exercised the action incumbent upon him and that if he had, he would have had the consciousness. The imputability arises from the neglect of civil duty of circumspection. Ravi Kapur v. State of Rajasthan, (2012) 9 SCC 284.

Leave a comment

Filed under Negligence