Former UoN student awarded Sh10m for brain damage in accident
A former University of Nairobi student who sustained severe head injuries and brain damage in a road accident has been awarded Sh10 million in compensation.
The victim, referred to in the suit papers by his initials ESMK, sued the owner of a matatu that collided with a car on Mombasa Road, claiming damages arising from the accident.
He was a fare-paying passenger when the accident occurred on September 3, 2011.
He filed the case against the vehicle owner, Mr Collins Odhiambo, and the driver, Mr Jacob Lensinko Kipaa, through his father JKN.
ESMK was left permanently incapacitated by the accident and doctors declared him of unsound mind, with no legal capacity to lodge a suit.
“Money cannot renew a physical frame that has been battered and shattered and all that courts can do is to award sums that must be regarded as giving reasonable compensation,” High Court judge David Kemei said, when he delivered his ruling in Machakos on October 31.
The matter proceeded to trial and the parties agreed to liability judgment at the ratio of 15 per cent to 85 per cent in favour of ESMK against the defendant.
The only issue left for the trial court was that of quantum on the assessment of damages.
In his testimony, Dr Japheth Amukata, who examined ESMK after the accident, indicated that he sustained severe head injuries, with loss of consciousness and brain damage.
CONFINED TO WHEELCHAIR
The physician testified that EMSK was confined to a wheelchair because he could not stand or walk as a result of generalised stiffness of major joints.
The doctor further said the victim’s left eye had reduced focus, his hearing had diminished and that he had lost memory of all recent events.
Dr Amukata recommended that he should undergo physiotherapy, psychotherapy and surgery to release the contractions of the joints so as to make the movement flexible.
He confirmed that the plaintiff suffered permanent disability of 90 to 95 per cent.
JKN indicated that his son had visited various health institutions after having been admitted to the intensive care unit at Nairobi West Hospital for three months and later the Matasia Nursing Home.
He said he spent Sh4.6 million in hospital bills, adding that his son was permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair.
JKN urged Justice Kemei to award his son Sh8 million in general damages for pain and suffering, as well as loss of amenities of life.
He argued that his son was a university student but discontinued his studies following memory loss and being incapable of making his own decisions.
“In my opinion, the defendants robbed the plaintiff of his life and a promising career, having been a student at the UoN. This has also cost the parents a lot, the fruits of which might not be realised,” observed Justice Kemei.
Having considered all the principles set out by the Court of Appeal, the judge awarded ESMK Sh4.6 million for medical expenses; Sh5 million in general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities; and Sh2.4 million for loss of future earnings.
The judge, however, said the victim would receive Sh12 million less 15 per cent contribution, hence the Sh10 million. He, however, awarded him for the cost of the suit and interest on special damages.