A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal recently ordered a heavy vehicle owner and an insurance company to pay Rs. 1.11 Crore to the family members of a 37-year-old sales executive with a private firm who died after a dumper knocked him down near Powai in 2013.
The tribunal proceeded ex-parte against the company that owns the heavy vehicle as it did not respond to a notice. The insurance company, Reliance General Insurance Company, denied allegations made in the application of the family seeking compensation. It disputed the age of the deceased, Sathosh More, and income. It also disputed the involvement of the dumper in the accident.
More’s wife Rupali had appeared before the tribunal and deposed that on 10 February, 2013, her husband was riding towards Vikhroli. At Powai, near Suvarna Mandir, the dumper hit his motorcycle from the rear. He fell and sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Hiranandani Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries after fighting for life a month later. Offence was registered against the dumper driver who fled from the spot.
The driver of the dumper was presented as a witness before the tribunal by the insurance company. He stated in his evidence that the deceased had overtaken his dumper along with an Innova and then hit the latter that was in front of his bike, fell and then came under the rear wheels of his dumper.
Tribunal member SB Hedaoo said in his judgment that the dumper driver has not explained why the bike of the deceased hit the Innova car, whether it was because the car had applied brakes. He also noted that it does not correlate with the spot panchnama which describes the damage to More’s bike. There is no damage observed in it to the front mudguard or wheel of the bike. It also went on to observe that there is no mention even tangentially to the Innova car in the FIR.
“The very existence of the said Innova car on the spot of the accident becomes unbelievable,” member Hedaoo said and said it “appears to be an eleventh hour defence”.
Further, the judgment said that the panchnama shows break marks up to 130 ft from the spot where blood is spilled. “The long break marks obviously point out the crucial fact that such a dumper was at high speed.”
It further observed the immediate conduct of the dumper driver, as stated in the FIR, that he fled from the accident spot without providing any medical aid to the deceased. It increased the probability that he was at fault and had a guilty mind, it said.