Insurer, trasport company told to pay Rs 41 lakh to accident victim's kin

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 13 Januari 2013 | 22.23

THANE: The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here directed an insurance company and a private transport agency to jointly pay Rs 41 lakh compensation to a widow who lost her husband and here close relatives in a road accident on the Pune-Bangalore highway in November 2003.

The judgement issued by district judge NB Dhayatadak recently has far-reaching implications considering that scores of innocent people who are victims of rash driving or road rage by other motorists can now claim compensation for the irreparable damage to them and their families.

In this case, the accident occurred in the early hours when the Wagon-R, with five person from Thane, was rammed into by a truck which came speeding from the opposite direction. The collusion resulted in the death of Nitin Gujare, a prominent Chartered Accountant here, his brother-in-law Sachin Waikul, his wife Dr Leena, son Aditya and Waikuls parents.

The truck owned by a Pondicery-based Sundharam pvt ltd was driven by a driver who is said to have lost control over the vehicle and crossed over to the opposite direction hitting the Wagon-R.

Gujare's widow Neha then filed a complaint against the transport company and the two insurance firms which had covered the truck as well as the motor car for any third party liability. Gujare's had sought a Rs 2.75 crore compensation from the transport firm and the insurance companies arguing that her husband's untimely death has resulted in huge financial loss for the family.

The tribunal was informed that Gujare was a CA of repute in the lake city and had a flourishing practice with an annual earning of close to Rs 50 lakh. Documentary evidence was tabled before the tribunal to show that the total income to Gujare during 2002-03 was close to Rs 50 lakhs.

Lawyers representing United India Insurance company and TATA AIG argued that they should not be held liable for paying the compensation as they were not directly or indirectly responsible for the accident or the fatalities on the highway. The accusing finger pointed at the truck driver who was speeding recklessly.

Infact, the police charge sheet and the documentary evidence of the accident spot indicted the truck driver for over-speeding. The counsel for TATA AIG said his clients should not be held accountable for the accident as their insurance cover was limited to the victims Wagon-R and that the accident occurred due to rash and irresponsible driving by the truck driver.

The tribunal in its order, however, held the United India Insurance company which had

Insured the truck and the transport company jointly liable for payment of compensation amount.

After a verification of the income-tax returns of Gujare, the judge calculated the annual compensation payable to Gujare at Rs. 41.30 lakhs to be paid jointly by the transport company and United India Insurance Company. Of this amount Rs 10 lakh each should be kept in a long term fixed deposit in a nationalized bank in the name of Gujare's minor children and another Rs five lakh be paid to Gujare's mother.

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