The High Court has ordered West Kenya sugar company to pay a family Ksh. 910,575 for the death of their 13 year old son who was run over by a tractor owned by the miller.
In the appeal case that appeared before the Kakamega High Court, the milling company argued that the amount awarded for loss of dependency was beyond the award granted in other cases with similar circumstances.
Hon. Justice William Musyoka revised downward the Ksh 1.1 million that was awarded to the family by a lower court to approximately Ksh 0.9 million terming the initial award ‘excessive’ as the boy’s career path was still unknown. Moreover, as per the judge there was no general rule in assessment and tabulation of damages in respect of a deceased minor.
“I find that the sum awarded for loss of dependency is inordinately high against a global sum of Ksh 700,000. The award of Ksh. 960, 000 is thus set aide and substituted with that of Ksh. 700,000. The rest of the awards remain undisturbed,”the judge ruled.
Tom Avedi Misigo and his wife Judith had sued the company after their son Fanuel died from being crashed by a tractor carrying sugarcane on November 23, 2012.
The High Court heard that Faniel was grazing the family’s cattle at Mbale along Kakamega-Kisumu highway when he attempted to pull hanging sugarcane from the tractor which eventually run him over by its hind tires.
In their pleadings, the plaintiff had asked the court to declare 100 % liability on the part of the driver for his negligent conduct and also the company for failing to fully cover the tractor. They sought to be compensated for loss of expectation, loss of dependency, general and special damages
The company however, pleaded contributory negligence on part of the deceased.
The driver, Ayub Tera, said that he had been acquitted by a magistrate’s court after being charged with causing death by careless driving contrary to section 48 as read with section 46 of the Traffic Act.
Kakamega Senior Resident magistrate, Erick Malesi assessed that the driver was largely to blame with 60 per cent liability. Consequently he awarded the family a total of Ksh. 1, 170, 575. From the damages awarded, Ksh. 10,000 was for pain and suffering, Ksh. 200,000 for loss of expectation, Ksh 960,000 for loss of dependency and Ksh 575 for special damages.
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