A Thane Motor Accident Claims Tribunal recently directed a motorcycle owner and an insurance company to jointly pay Rs. 9.21 lakhs to a retired driver who was employed with a publication company at the time of an accident in 2017.
On 13 August 2017 around 11 am Vithal Mulik was hit by a motorcycle when crossing a road in Nerul. Thereafter, he had spent over a week in a Navi Mumbai hospital, having sustained a fracture and other injuries. He underwent an operation and the hospital expense had come to a lakh. His medicine expenses came to an additional around Rs. 36,000.
A case of negligent driving was registered against the driver of the vehicle by the local police. Mulik approached the Tribunal in December that year and claimed compensation as he claimed he sustained disability due to the accident and could not carry out routine work. He told the tribunal that he earned around Rs. 40,000 monthly.
While the vehicle’s owner did not appear before the tribunal, the insurance company - Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. told the tribunal in its written statement that the rider of the vehicle did not possess a valid license and there is a breach of policy. The company also denied Mulik’s income and medical expenses while resisting Malik’s petition.
Tribunal member MM Walimohammed said in his order giving the order in favour of Mulik that the insurance company has not produced any evidence that the offending vehicle was being driven without a valid license and that hence there was a breach of policy.
The tribunal considered the deposition of an employee of Mulik’s company who testified that Mulik was indeed serving as a driver in the company and also testified regarding his salary. Another witness who appeared before the tribunal was a chemist who showed the tribunal the invoices of the medicines purchased by Mulik from his pharmacy. Employees of the hospital where Mulik was admitted also testified.
The Tribunal awarded total compensation of Rs. 9.21 lakhs to Malik, which included the cost of his medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, costs of special diet, and conveyance.