HomeCar NewsRoad Accident Victim's Family Awarded Rs 2.54 Crore Compensation

Road Accident Victim’s Family Awarded Rs 2.54 Crore Compensation

Death in road vehicular mishap – Legal heirs awarded compensation of Rs. 2,54,27,025/ inclusive of NFL amount with interest of 7% pa

Scooter Accident Victim Family Gets Compensation
Image for illustration purpose.

Legal heirs of Prashant Prakash Vishwasrao, who died in a road accident on December 6, 2018, applied for compensation from the owner and insurer of the offending vehicle. The family was seeking compensation of Rs 6 crore under Section 166 of M.V.Act.
This case was heard by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, and was decided on January 23, 2023.

The Accident

On December 6, 2018, Prashant and Oscar were riding a scooter when a motor tanker hit them from behind, causing Prashant (pillion) to be thrown off the scooter. He succumbed to his injuries. The accident was due to the rash and negligent driving of the tanker driver, as supported by police papers, medical papers, and the testimony of Prashant’s wife. The driver was charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicle Act – Section 279, 338, 304-A of IPC and 185 of the M.V. ACT.

Insurer claimed the driver of the offending vehicle was under influence of alcohol at time of accident and thus violated MV Act 1988. They also denied the deceased’s age, occupation, income.

Insurer failed to prove any negligence by the deceased or the rider of the motorcycle. And failed to examine the driver of the offending vehicle. Thus failing to prove any negligence or contributory negligence on the part of the deceased himself. Overall, evidence supports the cause of the accident, and that the deceased died from the injuries sustained in the accident. Cause of death was a result of blunt force trauma to multiple parts of the body – chest, abdomen, pelvis, and the structures beneath them.

Claims by Insurer (National Insurance)

Insurer claimed that driver of the offending vehicle, Uthappa Vaskatti, was under the influence of alcohol. Hence, he violated policy terms, and that of MV Act 1988. Burden of proof was on the insurer. Suraj (DW1), was an investigating officer at Verna police station in 2018. He registered an accident, visited the scene, and sent the driver for medical examination and alcohol testing, which was positive.

Original alcohol test report was submitted as evidence. Suraj (DW1) admitted in cross-examination that the driver was not charged under Section 185 of the MV Act. Alcohol test report did not mention the percentage of alcohol, and did not prove the driver’s inability to drive properly. Insurer failed to provide a certified copy of the charge-sheet or explain why section 185 was dropped. Blood of the driver was not collected in the IO’s presence.

Medical report – Opinion of the medical officer

A medical officer at Hospicio Hospital examined the tanker driver. Alcohol test report revealed that the driver had a smell of alcohol from his mouth and breath, but his speech and gait were normal. The driver was able to walk in a straight line and had normal muscular coordination, including normal reactions to light and normal knee and ankle reflexes.

Medical officer concluded that the driver had consumed alcohol but was capable of taking care of himself. The report did not indicate that the driver was under the influence of alcohol to such an extent that he could not drive the vehicle properly. As a result, the tanker driver was not charged with the offense under Section 185 of the M.V. Act.

Compensation amount as per relevant income and tax details

Evidence presented showed that the deceased was employed by Jaguar Security Services Pvt. Ltd. as V.P. Zonal Head-West and Head-Special Ops with a monthly salary of Rs.2,20,500/- until the day of his death. Evidence also showed that the deceased’s income tax returns for the financial years 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 were accepted and processed, with the highest gross total income being Rs.20,86,756/- in 2018-2019.

It was submitted that the determination of income must proceed on the basis of the last income tax return for computing loss of dependency. The multiplier used for loss of dependency was 15, resulting in a total loss of dependency of Rs.2,52,62,025. The applicants (wife, daughter, and mother) are entitled to Rs.1,65,000/- for conventional heads (spousal, parental, and filial consortium, funeral expenses, and loss of estate) and a total of Rs.2,54,27,025/- including the loss of dependency. Compensation is to be paid to the paid alongwith 7 percent pa from date of claim filing.

India Road Accidents in 2021: A Deep Dive

In 2021, India reported 4,12,432 road accidents that resulted in 1,53,972 deaths and injured 3,84,448 people. Age group of 18-45 years was the hardest hit, accounting for 67 percent of total deaths. Most accidents happened on other roads (45.4 percent), followed by state highways (23.4 percent) and national highways (31.2 percent). Tamil Nadu had the highest number of road accidents on national highways, while Uttar Pradesh had the most road accident fatalities.

Two-wheeler riders suffered the most fatalities (45.1 percent), followed by pedestrians (18.9 percent). Majority of road accidents and deaths occurred in rural areas (69 percent) compared to urban areas (31 percent). In 2021, road accidents and fatalities increased by 12.6 percent and 16.9 percent respectively compared to the previous year. Fatalities were reported at 1,51,417 people in 2018.

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