The Thane district Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has awarded Rs. 9.89 lakh compensation to the family of a 25-year-old labourer who was killed in a road accident in 2011.
MACT member and District Judge S B Gaidhani recently ordered the two respondents — truck owner Nandkumar Bhoir and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance — to jointly and severally make the payment.
Bhau Mukane from Mhasa at Murbad tehsil in Thane district, was travelling in a truck along with other labourers from Mohghar on February 22, 2011. The truck driver lost control of the vehicle following which Mukane fell into a road-side ditch, resulting in his death.
His 21-year-old wife Alka, son and parents then filed a claim of Rs. 6 lakh before MACT and pleaded that Mukane was a labourer working for the truck owner on a monthly salary of Rs. 4,500, and that he was the sole bread winner of the family.
The truck owner did not appear in the case, therefore, the matter was decided ex-parte against him.
The insurer, meanwhile, contested the claim on various grounds, saying the deceased had occupied the vehicle illegally and hence, the insurance company was not liable to pay the compensation.
However, the judge observed, “The insurer has admitted that labourers are required for loading and unloading goods like bricks, sand and soft mud used as raw material for bricks from the vehicle. He has also admitted that the policy covers driver, cleaner and other three persons.
“Thus, the said admission makes out that, in all five persons are covered by the policy. It is not a case of the opponent, that there were excess persons in the truck above the numbers which are covered by the policy,” he noted.
The judge concluded that the deceased was an employee of the truck owner and not an unauthorised passenger or gratuitous passenger or owner of the goods.
That he was not sitting in the cabin of the truck cannot be a ground to absolve the insurance company from its liability to pay the compensation, he further observed.
The judge ordered the respondents to pay to the claimants Rs. 7.29 lakh towards future pecuniary loss of dependency, Rs. one lakh towards loss of consortium, Rs. 1.50 lakh towards loss of love, Rs. 5000 each towards ambulance and funeral expenses, adding upto Rs. 9.89 lakh.