Insurer liable even in the event of negligence of the deceased driver: HC | Ahmedabad News
Ahmedabad: In an important order, a larger high court in Gujarat ruled that an insurance agency is required to pay compensation for a motor vehicle accident claim for a hired driver in the event of death even if the accident is caused due to the negligence of the driver. This liability arises once the insurer has accepted an additional premium to cover the indemnity of the owner of the vehicle.
The matter was before Chief Justice Vikram Nath, Judge RM Chhaya and Judge BN Karia when a division judge referred her for ruling on an appeal filed by the family of one Laxmanbhai Thakore, a driver hired by the Kandla Dock Labor Board for its ambulance. Thakore and two other people were killed in an accident in March 2003 while transporting a patient in the ambulance from Gandhidham to Ahmedabad.
Thakore’s family filed a claim with the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal on the grounds that an additional Rs 30 was paid by the employee as a liability rider to the Indian Automobile Tariff of the driver and the driver. The court dismissed the claim in 2017 on the grounds that the accident had occurred due to driver error, and the matter landed in the High Court.
A division bench referred the question of whether the insurer is required to pay compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act. For the appellant family, it was argued that regardless of the negligence of the deceased, the insurer would be required to pay the entire indemnity. This is because the additional premium was paid and accepted and therefore was the responsibility of the insurer under the principles enshrined in the Workman Compensation Act apart from negligence.
After hearing the case, the HC concluded that once the additional paid driver bonus is accepted, the deceased’s family can claim compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act. “In our opinion, by accepting an additional premium, the insurance company compensates the owners for the driver and / or the driver paid and the driver / driver risk is covered under it. In the event of death or injury to the driver and / or the paid driver, the insurance company would be obligated to satisfy such a claim regardless of negligence, ”observed the larger bench and asked the bench of the division of dispose of the appeal accordingly.