November 22, 2018:
Law providing compensation in motor accident cases is a beneficial legislation aimed to give solace to victims who either suffer injury or die.
A first information report (FIR) registered by police about a road accident is sufficient to award compensation to the victim or the family even if no formal claim petition is filed, the Supreme Court ruled last week, in a move that could significantly benefit survivors or the families of the victims that aren’t adequately informed about the procedure to be followed after an accident.
In an order that will benefit claimants in motor accident compensation cases, a bench of justices AM Sapre & Indu Malhotra said the claims tribunal is empowered to treat the report of accidents as an application under the law.
The Supreme Court bench said that the law providing compensation in motor accident cases is a beneficial legislation aimed to give solace to victims who either suffer injury or die before their time.
The court ruling related to an appeal filed by a woman whose husband died on June 3, 2003 after the bus he was travelling in was hit by a speeding truck in Rajasthan. The man was 25-years-old & died at the spot. However, the order is likely to have far-reaching implications.
In this particular case, both the tribunal & the state high court refused to award her compensation because she could not establish the accident & also hadn’t filed a proper claim application.
“We are of the considered opinion that the Claims Tribunal & the High Court (Rajasthan) were not justified in dismissing the appellants’ claim petition,” SC said, awarding her compensation of around Rs 11 lakh, to be jointly paid by the insurer & the owner or driver of the offending truck.
The bench also said interest at the rate of 6% from the date of the claim petition till its realization would be paid. The insurer was given three months to deposit the money with the claims tribunal.
The bench also noted that the law casts a duty on the offending vehicle’s owner to forward the copy of the FIR to the claims tribunal & the insurer of the vehicle, provided this person has a copy of the FIR.