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G.R. No. L-16138 April 29, 1961

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. FIRST NATIONAL SURETY & ASSURANCE CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16139 April 29, 1961.

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ASSOCIATED INSURANCE & SURETY CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16140 April 29, 1961

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. UNITED INSURANCE CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16141 April 29, 1961.

DIOSDADO C. TY. Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PHILIPPINE SURETY & INSURANCE CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16142 April 29, 1961.

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. RELIANCE SURETY & INSURANCE CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16143 April 29, 1961

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. FAR EASTERN SURETY & INSURANCE CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16144 April 29, 1961

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. CAPITAL INSURANCE & SURETY CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

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G.R. No. L-16145 April 29, 1961

DIOSDADO C. TY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. CAPITAL INSURANCE & SURETY CO., INC., Defendant-Appellee.

V. B. Gesunundo for plaintiff-appellant.
M. Perez Cardenas for defendant-appellee.

LABRADOR, J.:chanrobles virtual law library

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Gregorio S. Narvasa, presiding, dismissing the actions filed in the above-entitled cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The facts found by the trial court, which are not disputed in this appeal, are as follows:

At different times within a period of two months prior to December 24, 1953, the plaintiff herein Diosdado C. Ty, employed as operator mechanic foreman in the Broadway Cotton Factory, in Grace Park, Caloocan, Rizal, at a monthly salary of P185.00, insured himself in 18 local insurance companies, among which being the eight above named defendants, which issued to him personal accident policies, upon payment of the premium of P8.12 for each policy. Plaintiff's beneficiary was his employer, Broadway Cotton Factory, which paid the insurance premiums.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On December 24, 1953, a fire broke out which totally destroyed the Broadway Cotton Factory. Fighting his way out of the factory, plaintiff was injured on the left hand by a heavy object. He was brought to the Manila Central University hospital, and after receiving first aid there, he went to the National Orthopedic Hospital for treatment of his injuries which were as follows:chanrobles virtual law library

1. Fracture, simple, proximal phalanx index finger, left; chanrobles virtual law library

2. Fracture, compound, comminuted, proximal phalanx, middle finger, left and 2nd phalanx, simple;chanrobles virtual law library

3. Fracture, compound, comminute phalanx, 4th finger, left;chanrobles virtual law library

4. Fracture, simple, middle phalanx, middle finger, left; chanrobles virtual law library

5. Lacerated wound, sutured, volar aspect, small finger, left;chanrobles virtual law library

6. Fracture, simple, chip, head, 1st phalanx, 5th digit, left. He underwent medical treatment in the Orthopedic Hospital from December 26, 1953 to February 8, 1954. The above-described physical injuries have caused temporary total disability of plaintiff's left hand. Plaintiff filed the corresponding notice of accident and notice of claim with all of the abovenamed defendants to recover indemnity under Part II of the policy, which is similarly worded in all of the policies, and which reads pertinently as follows:

INDEMNITY FOR TOTAL OR PARTIAL DISABILITYchanrobles virtual law library

If the Insured sustains any Bodily Injury which is effected solely through violent, external, visible and accidental means, and which shall not prove fatal but shall result, independently of all other causes and within sixty (60) days from the occurrence thereof, in Total or Partial Disability of the Insured, the Company shall pay, subject to the exceptions as provided for hereinafter, the amount set opposite such injury:

PARTIAL DISABILITYchanrobles virtual law library

LOSS OF:

x x x           x x x           x x xchanrobles virtual law library

Either hand ...... P650.00

x x x           x x x           x x xchanrobles virtual law library

... The loss of a hand shall mean the loss by amputation through the bones of the wrist....chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Defendants rejected plaintiff's claim for indemnity for the reason that there being no severance of amputation of the left hand, the disability suffered by him was not covered by his policy. Hence, plaintiff sued the defendants in the Municipal Court of this City, and from the decision of said Court dismissing his complaints, plaintiff appealed to this Court. (Decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, pp. 223-226, Records).

In view of its finding, the court absolved the defendants from the complaints. Hence this appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The main contention of appellant in these cases is that in order that he may recover on the insurance policies issued him for the loss of his left hand, it is not necessary that there should be an amputation thereof, but that it is sufficient if the injuries prevent him from performing his work or labor necessary in the pursuance of his occupation or business. Authorities are cited to the effect that "total disability" in relation to one's occupation means that the condition of the insurance is such that common prudence requires him to desist from transacting his business or renders him incapable of working. (46 C.J.S., 970). It is also argued that obscure words or stipulations should be interpreted against the person who caused the obscurity, and the ones which caused the obscurity in the cases at bar are the defendant insurance companies.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

While we sympathize with the plaintiff or his employer, for whose benefit the policies were issued, we can not go beyond the clear and express conditions of the insurance policies, all of which define partial disability as loss of either hand by amputation through the bones of the wrist." There was no such amputation in the case at bar. All that was found by the trial court, which is not disputed on appeal, was that the physical injuries "caused temporary total disability of plaintiff's left hand." Note that the disability of plaintiff's hand was merely temporary, having been caused by fracture of the index, the middle and the fourth fingers of the left hand.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

We might add that the agreement contained in the insurance policies is the law between the parties. As the terms of the policies are clear, express and specific that only amputation of the left hand should be considered as a loss thereof, an interpretation that would include the mere fracture or other temporary disability not covered by the policies would certainly be unwarranted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the plaintiff-appellant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.




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