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Insurance company will have to pay compensation even if the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol: Kerala High Court

Thiruvananthapuram. In the event of an accident, the insurance company will have to pay compensation money to the victim of a road accident or to a third party in the beginning, even if the insurance policy holder is not driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The Kerala High Court gave this order while hearing a petition on Monday.

Justice Sophie Thomas of the Kerala High Court, in her order, said, “Undoubtedly, when the driver is in an inebriated state, there is bound to be an impairment of his consciousness and senses, as per a report by legal matters website Live Law. He becomes unfit to drive. But the liability under the policy is statutory in nature and therefore the company cannot be absolved of paying compensation to the victim.

The Kerala High Court was hearing a petition seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT). The appellant had approached the MACT claiming compensation of Rs.4,00,000, however, the MACT awarded only Rs.2,40,000, against which he appealed to the High Court.

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The appellant met with an accident in the year 2013 while traveling in an autorickshaw. He was hit by a car, in which he suffered serious injuries. The appellant claimed that he had to take rest for six months even after being discharged from the hospital. On the other hand, the charge sheet filed against the car driver who hit the autorickshaw revealed that he was driving the car in an inebriated condition.

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Hearing the plea, Justice Sophie Thomas said, “Since the offending vehicle was validly insured with the insurance company and the appellant is a third party, the company is prima facie liable to pay compensation, but The company is entitled to recover the same from the driver and owner of the vehicle.

The High Court increased the compensation of the petitioner to Rs 39,000 and directed the insurance company to deposit the money within two months from the date of receipt of the copy of the judgment. The court also said that the insurance company will have to deposit the increased compensation along with interest at the rate of 7% per annum in the bank account of the appellant from the date of petition till the date of deposit of money.

Tags: car insurance, Kerala High Court, Motor Vehicle Act

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