A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has ordered a private bus owner and an insurance company to pay over Rs 15 lakh in compensation to a 31-year-old man whose right leg had to be amputated in 2015 after the bus he was travelling in from Mumbai to Kolhapur turned turtle in the small hours of a fateful morning that year.
Rahul Tasgaonkar, a Kandivli resident, was travelling from Goregaon to Kolhapur by a bus from RK Travels on April 30, 2015. In his deposition before the tribunal, he said that around 4am, the bus was speeding and turned upside-down after a collision. In the mishap, his right leg suffered a compound fracture and it had to be amputated. In his complaint before the tribunal, he had sought Rs 30 lakh in compensation for the disability he had suffered.
An assistant professor and orthopaedic surgeon from JJ Hospital who had issued the disability certificate showing 70 percent permanent disability to Tasgaonkar, also appeared as a witness before the tribunal. He showed documents which proved that the then 25-year-old youth was admitted to the hospital between May 4 and June 20 and later again from July 5 to July 16 that year.
The bus owner did not appear before the tribunal despite notice. The insurance firm, Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd., refuted the claims and its advocate argued that the bus was running beyond capacity and hence, had breached its policy terms.
Tribunal member Sanjay K Choudante said in his judgment that the claimant had very well proved from the evidence on record that the accident had happened due to the rash and negligent driving of the driver of the bus. While deciding the compensation, the tribunal said he had not brought on record any settled income to determine the compensation and hence, it would have to be calculated on notional income. A notional income of Rs 6,000 monthly would be just and proper, it found.
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