Accident Claims In India
Accident Claims in India under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The significant rise in motor vehicle accidents, citing road rage, irresponsible driving, driving under alcoholic influence etc… The result? – A very unfortunate road accident.
What are there any remedies available to the injured victim by the law?
Worry not! Remedy is available to the injured victim by ”Right to Compensation” under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 serves as a comprehensive legislation with the motive of enhancing road safety of every individual. The main reason for the enactment of the Act, for but obvious reasons being welfare legislation for providing compensation to the victim in case of loss of life, limb because of motor accident.
MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIMS TRIBUNAL
Establishment of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal to simplify the Accident Claims in India:
- Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has been established by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It has been constituted to provide speedier remedy to the victims of accident by motor vehicles.
- The Tribunals takes away jurisdiction of Civil Courts in the matters which concerns the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.
- A State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals for such area as may be specified in the (Section 165).
- Moreover, it is for the State Government to decide the number of members of a Claims Tribunal. If there are two or more members then one has to appointed as Chairman(Section 165). ‘A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a member of a Claims Tribunal unless he –
(a) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court, or
(b) is, or has been, a District Judge, or
(c) also includes any person, qualified for appointment or is a High Court Judge or as a District Judge.
- Appeals from Claims Tribunal lies with High Courts. Appeal to High Court is limited by time and therefore has to be filed within 90 days from the date of award of Claims Tribunal. The High Court may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of ninety days, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time. (Section 173)
When to claim the compensation?
Time limit for Accident Claims in India has no definite time period for filing, However, an unusual delay demands an explanation by the Tribunal.
According to Section 165 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, accident claims can be awarded:
- When the accident involves death of the person, or bodily injury to the person; or damage to any property of the third party; or both.
- When the accident arises out of the use of motor vehicle
Who can claim the constitution?
According to Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the following people can get accident claims in India under the Act:
- Person sustaining the injury,
- Owner of the damaged property;
- All or any legal representative of the deceased dead in the accident;
- Also by a duly authorized agent of the injured person or all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased who died in the accident.
Compensation Claimed Where and How?
Accident Claims Process Petition filed at any of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal –
- to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred or,
- to the Claims Tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the claimant resides, or carries on business or,
- within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant reside.
Click the link for prescribed format of the Claims Petition and documents required by Courts of Delhi.
>Parties to a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Insurance
Insurer is also a party to the Claims case. Section 146, of the Act makes it compulsory for the owner of the vehicle to get his vehicle insured against third party risk. The expression ‘third party risk’ is used because the Claimant is the third party as he is neither First Party i.e. the Insurer(the Insurance Company) nor he is Second Party i.e. the Insured(Owner of the Motor Vehicle).
As per Section 196, Non-compliance with Section 146 secures a punishment with imprisonment, or fine, or both. Primary object of compulsory insurance of motor vehicle is for the benefit and monetary security of the victim.
>”No fault liability”
Section 140 of the Act, LIABILITY WITHOUT FAULT IN CERTAIN CASES, deals with certain cases where defendant be held liable for the death or permanent disability of the victim for no fault whatsoever of the defendant (Section 140) and is termed as “no fault liability”
In simple words, the liability of paying compensation imposes on the owner of the motor vehicles for no fault of his in relation to the accident examined by the court.
Section 140 (2) deals with the compensation payable in case of no fault liability as follows:
- Rs 50,000 in case of Death.
- Rs 25,000 in case of permanent disablement.
>Case of Hit and Run?
Section 161(1)(b) of the Act, defines ‘hit and run motor accident’ as “an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles the identity whereof cannot be ascertained in spite of reasonable efforts for the purpose”
Thus, the essential element to this clause being:
- The happening of an accident, causing injury to the victim and
- The culprit/ owner of the accident/motor vehicle goes missing with the vehicle, despite reasonable efforts taken to find the owner of the vehicle.
- Therefore, in such cases, the Government has created ‘Solatium Fund’ for the victims of ‘hit and run motor accident’ as per Section 163 of the Act.
- Amount of compensation in this case:
- Rs 25,000 in case of death,
- 12,500 in case of grievous hurt. (as per Section 45 of IPC, 1860).
Special Provision as to payment of compensation on structured formula basis (Section 163):
- The claimant who is seeking compensation in case of death or permanent disability caused by motor vehicle, is not required to plead or establish that the death or permanent disablement(as per the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923) in respect of which the claim has been made was due to any wrongful act or neglect or default of the owner of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of any other person.
- Also the owner of the vehicle shall be liable to pay in case of death and permanent disability caused because of accident by the motor vehicle of the owner.
- Furthermore, a person entitled to claim compensation can do so under section 140 and also under section 163-A. However, he shall file the claim under either of two sections but not both the sections. (163-B)
The Act serves its purpose of due compensation and justice.
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