2006 Accident Case: Bombay HC Doubles Compensation For Kin Of Dead Driver

2006 Accident Case: Bombay HC Doubles Compensation For Kin Of Dead Driver

"If truck’s brake lights or tail lights are not working & there’s an accident, onus on truck driver alone", says court

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, March 30, 2024, 10:16 AM IST
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Mumbai: If a truck’s brake lights or tail lights are not working and it is rear-ended by a car, it would be considered solely the negligence of the truck driver which caused the accident and the vehicle driver is not liable for any negligence contributing to the collision, the Bombay High Court has held. The high court not only set aside an order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) which had held the deceased car driver 50 per cent responsible for the accident but enhanced the compensation awarded to the kin of the deceased car driver, nearly doubling the amount to Rs 29.40 lakh.

HC observations

“Driving a 70-foot-long trailer without any brake light or tail lamps is a grievous negligence, but these facts are not considered by the Tribunal and it has fixed 50% contributory negligence on the deceased, which is erroneous. Hence, I hold that the accident occurred due to the sole negligence of the driver of the offending trailer,” Justice Shivkumar Dige noted. According to the claimants, on January 12, 2006, around 8.30pm, Ravindra Divate was proceeding towards Sanaswadi from Shikrapur on the Nagar-Pune highway in his car. On the way, a trailer truck which was also proceeding towards Pune without any parking or brake lights, stopped in the middle of the road. In the absence of brake lights, the car rammed into the trailer and the driver died of multiple injuries.

In 2023, the tribunal held the car driver responsible for contributory negligence at 50 per cent and awarded the family Rs 15 lakh. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. challenged the award before the HC, claiming that the deceased car driver was solely responsible for the accident as he had rammed the truck from behind. Divate’s wife and two minor children too challenged the tribunal’s order in the HC, seeking enhancement in compensation. They contended that the trailer truck was 70-foot-long and had stopped in the middle of the road at night without any indicator of its presence.

HC: Trailer driver was not examined

The HC noted that the trailer driver was not examined, to prove the negligence of the deceased. It also took exception to the insurance company’s failure to examine RTO officers to substantiate their claim that the trailer driver did not possess a valid driving licence. Justice Dige allowed the family’s appeal and enhanced the compensation amount to Rs 29.4 lakh, with interest at 7.5 per cent per annum from the date of filing the claim petition. The insurance company was directed to deposit the enhanced amount within eight weeks, after deducting Rs 45,000 towards excess nonpecuniary compensation awarded by the tribunal. China offers Pak help to... Prefacing this suggestion, he said, China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, true friends and good brothers through thick and thin and share weal and woe. He said this during his monthly briefing while responding to a question asked by APP regarding participation of PLA tri-services contingent in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23.

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