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Old 20th February 2021, 22:41   #1
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Default Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

Came across this newspaper article where the car driver/owner is liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger (whom he had given lift and the vehicle met with fatal accident wherein the person who was given lift died)

Quote:
The family of a 48-year-old head constable who died in an accident after the van he had hitched a ride in turned turtle will get a compensation of around Rs 65 lakh, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has ruled. The tribunal said while the constable, was a “gratuitous passenger” and not covered under insurance policy, the van owner will have to pay the sum.
Quote:
The tribunal relied on the FIR to rule that the vehicle had turned turtle due to the rash and negligent act of its driver, which resulted in the victim’s death. Fixing final liability on the van owner, it said, “In fact, as per documents, no conveyance amount has been given by the deceased to the offending vehicle driver. Thus, it is crystal clear that he was a gratuitous passenger in the vehicle while the insurance is private car liability only policy.”
This raises the point of our awareness about the motor vehicle insurance, primarily on seemingly harmless and non consequential actions that we encounter everyday.

Full news article

Last edited by Aditya : 24th February 2021 at 19:43. Reason: More information added
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Old 20th February 2021, 23:02   #2
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Default re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

What does 'gratuitous passenger' mean? If I give lift to my friends or colleagues in my car, will they be considered as 'gratuitous passengers' or only strangers will be classified so?

Another question, my insurance policy also has a component called Accidental insurance for unnamed passengers. Will that absolve me of my liability in case something like this happens? (I really wish it doesnt happen)
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Old 20th February 2021, 23:18   #3
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Default re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

As I understand it, gratuitous passenger means someone who had no apparent reason to be in the vehicle, a stranger.

I don't think it will cover friends and relatives. Or even situations where a motorist is helping someone in an emergency.

As for unnamed passengers, as long as one can prove they were non-paying ones, the insurance should cover them.

If people were being charged for a ride, it would be a violation of the insurance policy.
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Old 20th February 2021, 23:46   #4
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Default re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post

As for unnamed passengers, as long as one can prove they were non-paying ones, the insurance should cover them.
Thanks for the clarification. As per this, is it illegal to share the petrol expenses with friends if we are on a group trip on a non-commercial registered car? In this case, technically they are paying for the ride. How does our law treat this case?
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Old 21st February 2021, 01:28   #5
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Default re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

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Originally Posted by nagr22 View Post
Thanks for the clarification. As per this, is it illegal to share the petrol expenses with friends if we are on a group trip on a non-commercial registered car? In this case, technically they are paying for the ride. How does our law treat this case?
It's a grey area, but the insurance contract prohibits carrying persons or goods for reward. If you can get the word "reward" interpreted your way, you might get lucky.
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Old 21st February 2021, 09:47   #6
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

When can someone refuse to give lift to a cop? Usually they just flag you down and get in telling you to drop them on their way. Happened to me once on my Motorcycle.
Gratuitous probably means someone you cannot refuse.
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Old 21st February 2021, 10:10   #7
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

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Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
When can someone refuse to give lift to a cop? Usually they just flag you down and get in telling you to drop them on their way. Happened to me once on my Motorcycle.
Gratuitous probably means someone you cannot refuse.
Exactly what I was thinking, you get coerced into offering a ride then get shaken down for compensation. The driver should have been let go, if anything, the dead man's family should be fined for abuse of authority.
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Old 21st February 2021, 10:38   #8
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

Its a sad day. Looking at insane judgements like this, one would be scared to be a good samaritan. No more giving lifts to strangers, even if they are stranded and in dire need. I mean, who would want to be burdened with a huge bill for being a do gooder?

This seems to be an apt case to appeal against.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:08   #9
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

A question more to the experts on insurance than all - is this a case of the insurer (/New India Insurance) changing the situation to not be responsible to do the payout to the passenger and instead pushing the liability on to the van owner?

I feel there is a next step play where the van owner family would fight this verdict at a higher court.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:25   #10
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarathlal View Post
Came across this newspaper article where the car driver/owner is liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger (whom he had given lift and the vehicle met with fatal accident wherein the person who was given lift died)
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
When can someone refuse to give lift to a cop? Usually they just flag you down and get in telling you to drop them on their way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalvaz View Post
Its a sad day. Looking at insane judgements like this, one would be scared to be a good samaritan. No more giving lifts to strangers, even if they are stranded and in dire need. I mean, who would want to be burdened with a huge bill for being a do gooder?

This seems to be an apt case to appeal against.
I hope the family of the deceased will show some compassion and settle for a lesser amount if the driver has to pay from his own pocket. Since it is a van I assume the driver may not be able to cough up the 65 lakhs and may ruin his life or end in a worse condition. One should help another. I do hope that the right thing comes out for the concerned folks.

This reminded me of an older thread where a co passenger died and the car had expired insurance.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...ed-advice.html (Co-passenger dies, car insurance expired - Advice?)

Can someone throw some clarity on when the car insurance will pay for compensation for deceased passengers in case of an accident.

Last edited by TrackDay : 21st February 2021 at 11:44.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:33   #11
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

The full details aren't present or I'm missing it. I assume it is a commercial vehicle. (= Yellow Board) For commercial vehicles, travelers are supposed to be mentioned in a contract.

During a trip on a bus from Chicago, IL to Rockford, IL, I experienced the effect of this law/policy. I had a single use ticket valid for 7 days beginning at 12:30 PM on a particular day. I reached the station early but was denied boarding for an earlier bus at 12:00 PM even though it had empty seats. Reason: I wouldn't be covered by the insurance if I boarded the bus ahead of schedule. There was no way the attendant could modify my ticket, so had to wait in the bitter cold for 30 minutes.

I've been 'requested' for lifts by a few policemen while on my bike during my undergrad. Wonder what would happen if they got injured? *Knock on wood* (The cop being an unknown person; Assuming friends & relatives will be covered under my policy)

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 21st February 2021 at 11:36.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:39   #12
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

There is one statement in Kannada.

If tiger decides to kill a deer, it can discover 100 reasons and definitely kills the deer.

If insurance company decides not to settle the claim, it finds 100 clauses supporting it's decision not to settle.

If the insurance policy for the van in subject include "Unnamed Passengers" as add-on cover, it is expected to give the compensation. Which police constable will pay money while traveling by private vehicles? If he is not paid passenger, then should he not be considered Unnamed Passenger?

But, as said earlier, insurance companies have their interest in only collecting heavy premium and not in settling claims.

Now, as next step, the case goes to court and runs for 25 years. Owner would have already suffered by paying hefty amount to deceased. Now, he cannot afford to run the case in court for 25 years. He leaves after some time and owner story ends tragically.

Last edited by gkveda : 21st February 2021 at 11:46.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:40   #13
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

I am struggling to understand how this is different than third party insurance.
Suppose your vehicle is involved in an accident (say your wheel flies off and hits a bystander) are you not liable to pay damages?

Having said that, I agree this judgement sounds slightly lopsided. This could very well result in people stopping from giving lifts in the future, or charge a measly sum (say 10/-) to avoid the insurance loophole.
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Old 21st February 2021, 12:03   #14
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

The article says the tribunal ruled the death was a result of rash and negligent driving.

I donít know of any legislative system anywhere in the world that you can insure yourself against bringing harm to others due to your own irresponsible behaviour.

Of course, whether the cop had muscled his way into getting a lift is a bit of an unknown, but I donít think that takes away responsibility from the driver at all. If you behave stupidly, you might be required to face the consequences of your behaviour.

Giving somebody a lift does not change that.


Jeroen
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Old 21st February 2021, 12:40   #15
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Default Re: Car owner liable to pay huge compensation to family of deceased passenger, who he gave a lift to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
The article says the tribunal ruled the death was a result of rash and negligent driving.

I donít know of any legislative system anywhere in the world that you can insure yourself against bringing harm to others due to your own irresponsible behaviour.

Of course, whether the cop had muscled his way into getting a lift is a bit of an unknown, but I donít think that takes away responsibility from the driver at all. If you behave stupidly, you might be required to face the consequences of your behaviour.

Giving somebody a lift does not change that.


Jeroen
In india, any case of motor accident is termed as Rash and Negligent driving. Usually the bigger vehicle driver is always blamed. There is no logic to it.

Secondly, allegations can only be levelled by eye witnesses, so it is strange that the allegations of rash driving are being made by the deceased's family which weren't eye witnesses.

Hence I think this should be contested.
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