Compensation in Motor vehicle accident
If the brother while driving car met with an accident due to burst of tyre and dashed roadside tree, whether his dependents can claim compensation due to death in MV accident. Whether it can be said that the deceased stepped in the shoes of owner/brother therefore the owner? Please guide.
In past few years, the incidents of death from road accidents have increased rapidly. Thus, for compensating the unfortunate demise of such people to their beloved ones, the Fatal Accidents Act, 1885 was enacted in India. It contributed for a long time as such cases kept on increasing. Later, with the establishment of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act got a major boost and support as the Act provided new and important laws relating to third party insurances, mechanism of Accidents Claim Tribunal and procedure for filing a insurance claim in the case of road accidents. As stated by you, that the Brother of the Owner was driving the car, it is clear that he can’t be considered as the Owner of the Vehicle as he is not in possession of the relevant ownership documents like Registered Certificate (R.C.), Pollution Certificate along with other documents. Also, I want to grab your attention towards Section 2(30) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It defines the word “Owner” and as per it, Owner means: A person in whose name the motor vehicle is registered, and A person having possession of such vehicle under a hire-purchase agreement, or an agreement of lease and hypothecation. Thus, as per my opinion there was no such relationship of you with your Brother regarding the Car.
In response to your concern regarding the insurance claim for the accident, I want to state that as per my observation there are not much laws regarding claim of insurance in case of death of the owner or driver itself as the provisions under the current Motor Vehicles Act are more focused on third party insurances and procedure to claim such insurance. However, there are some provisions to claim compensation.
Section140 to 144 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 provides for interim compensation on ‘No fault’ basis. According to this provision Rs 50,000 is to be given as compensation to the dependants of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to the Victim of Grievous Injuries in case of Accident. However, for claiming this compensation the following evidences are required: Accident by the Offending Vehicle Offending vehicle being insured Death or grievous injuries have been caused
This section can be considered as a very reliable source of relief for the aggrieved as it restricts the insurer i.e. the Insurance Company from raising any defense against the claimant. Procedure of filing the Claim Application It can be filed under Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Afterwards, the claim amount can be decided on the basis of a structural formula mentioned in Schedule II of this Act. You can refer this Schedule for further information on the same. It can also be decided on the basis of the evidences produced before the Court under the Claim Application. Initially, the limitation period for filing the application was 6 months but later increased to 1 year and later limitation duration was removed totally. However, it is suggested to file the application within the prescribed time period as otherwise the right to file application can be barred as per the Limitation Act.
Assessment of Claim The amount of claim that can be assessed in such cases depends upon the various principles applied by the Court varying from Judge to Judge. The Supreme Court however evolved a formula as per which the Yearly Income-Yearly Expenditure on the deceased provides the sum expended on legal representatives. The Supreme Court further developed this formula in a renowned CKS Iyer’s Case and stated that there is no exact uniform rule for measuring the value o of human lives and thus damages can’t be determined and the amount of damages to be recovered depends upon the life expectancy of the legal representatives or survivors of the deceased.
There are also other measures of compensation suggested by the Supreme Court and currently the focus is on the annual income of the deceased while deciding the claim of compensation to the legal representatives. The Hon’ble Supreme Court also suggested that the annual income of the deceased after doubling, 1/3 is to be deducted towards the expenses to be incurred on the deceased and remaining amount to be multiplied by a multiplier or a number depending on the age of deceased and beneficiary. The multiplier was fixed as 16 by the Supreme Court but later was increased to 18. It keeps on changing according to the facts and circumstances of the Case. In a recent Judgment, the Supreme Court reduced the multiplier from 16 to 12 in case the age of deceased was 38 years. The idea behind the changes in the multiplier number is to maintain a balance between a hefty, non-required but a reasonable compensation so that to prevent the legal representatives or survivors of the deceased from financial crisis.
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