India has one of the most dangerous roads in the world that sees numerous accidents every day. In an accident that took place in 2016, the Bombay High Court has ordered the insurance firm – New India Insurance to pay a total sum of Rs. 4.6 crores to the family of the deceased.
The deceased Ravindra Kulkarni was CEO of Tata Precision, Singapore. He was travelling with his family from Pondicherry to Chennai in a car when a Toyota Innova crashed into his vehicle at an extremely high speed. The Innova was driving on the wrong side of the road and was insured By New India Insurance. All the family members in the car sustained serious injuries and four people including Ravindra succumbed to their injuries. Ravindra, his son Aniket and the driver of the vehicle died on the spot of the accident. Later, the Shailaja Kulkarni, who was the wife of Ravindra died due to the injuries.
A case was registered against the Toyota Innova under the Sections 279, 337, 338 and 304A of Indian Penal Code. The parents of Ravindra filed a claim petition before the MACT, Pune and filed for a compensation of Rs. 2.1 crores under different heads with 18 per cent interest. The New India Insurance approved a final grant of Rs. 2.5 crores, which was later revised by the Bombay High Court.
The Bombay High Court took various things into account before revising the claim amount. Ravindra worked as the CEO in Tata Precision, Singapore and earned 11,153 Singapore Dollars every month. He was the sole earner in the family and is now survived by parents who are close to 70 years old and his son Ashish, who is 22 years old. The family came under sudden financial strain and due to the death of the sole bread-earner in the family, the future of the family became uncertain. Parents of Ravindra also claim that Ashish is suffering from mental and physical trauma and his future looks extremely bleak.
The New India Insurance Agency, in turn, appealed that the driver of the Toyota Innova was driving under the influence of alcohol. The insurance said that the insurer cannot be held liable vicariously as the blame lies with the drive. The High Court rejected the argument by saying:
“Insurance Company would not be entitled to raise the said grounds. In any event the said grounds do not fall within the statutory defences which are available to an insurer under Section 149 of the Motor Vehicles Act to the Insurer.”
BASIS OF COMPUTATION Actual Annual Income – Rs.40,15,080/- (11,153 SD x 30 (Conversion rate) X 12 Future Prospects (30%) – Rs.12,04,524/- Deduction towards Personal Expenses – Rs.17,39,868/- (1/3rd of Rs.52,19,604/-) Total Annual Income – Rs Rs.34,79,736/- Multiplier – 13 COMPENSATION 1) Loss of Dependency – Rs.4,52,36,568/- 2) Loss of Love and Affection – Rs.1,50,000/- (Rs.50,000/- each to the Respondents/Claimants) 3) Funeral Expenses – Rs.1,00,000/-, 4) Loss of Estate – Rs.15,000/- 5) Loss of Parental and Filial Consortium – Rs.1,20,000/- (Rs.40,000/- to each of the Respondents/Claimants) 6) Total Compensation – Rs.4,56,21,568/-
The court had deducted Rs. 3,000 Singapore Dollar for the paid by Tata Precision for house rent allowance and Rs. 3 lakh granted to the family by the same employer.