PUNE: An insurance company cannot deny compensation to the third party claimant on the grounds that the insured vehicle, involved in a road accident, was being driven by a person who did not possess a valid driving licence, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has ruled.
“Recovery of compensation is the statutory right of the third party applicant. The insurance company, at the most, is entitled to recover the amount of compensation from the insured but, cannot avoid its liability to pay compensation to the third party,” MACT member V P Avhad ruled on February 11 while relying on a couple of judgments in 2013 by the Bombay high court and the Supreme Court.
The tribunal directed the United India Insurance Company to pay Rs 6.39 lakh compensation to the husband and two sons of a 48-year-old woman who died of injuries sustained in a road accident caused by a speeding car near HA ground in Pimpri in March 2013. The company also has to pay 7.5% p.a. interest from August 3, 2013 when the claim was filed, till realization. “Insurer is at liberty to proceed against the insured for recovery of compensation amount,” the ruling stated.
Both, the car driver and the insurance company, had denied involvement of the car in the accident and had claimed that the police falsely implicated the driver on the basis of information provided by some unknown person. The car driver also claimed that he was not in a position to pay compensation. On its part, the insurance company claimed that the driver had breached the terms and conditions of the insurance policy by driving the car without valid licence and hence it was not liable to pay compensation.
Lawyer Atul B Gunjal, who appeared for the claimants, told TOI, “The evidence provided by injured witness i.e. the victim’s husband, who had noted down the registration number of the offending car, and police investigation papers including the spot panchanama proved conclusive in enabling the tribunal to hold that it was a case of rash and negligent driving of the car that caused the accident.”
Gunjal said, “Since the victim was a woman with no source of income from any employment, the tribunal relied on a 2010 Supreme Court verdict which held that gratuitous services of mother or wife of the applicant cannot be equated with the services of an employee. Loss of personal care and attention suffered by the husband and children cannot be measured in terms of money.” The tribunal assessed a notional income of the victim at Rs 5,000 per month for calculating the overall compensation amount.
Curated From : Insurer can’t escape third party liability – timesofindia