Mansimran Kaur 

Madurai, April 25, 2022: While dismissing a Civil Miscellaneous Appeal pertaining to a motor accident claim, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has opined that legal representatives of the deceased representing his surviving estates are entitled to claim compensation and married daughters can also be the claim petitioners.

The single-Judge Bench of Justice RMT.Teekaa Raman clarified that all that the injuries sustained by the deceased petitioner were due to the accident that took place on June 10, 2012.  

In the present case, a Civil Miscellaneous Appeal was instituted against the judgment and decree dated February 13, 2020 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. Pursuant to the same,a Cross Objection was filed.

The Civil Miscellaneous Appeal was filed by the Insurance Company assailing the award on the ground that the deceased did  not die from the injuries sustained from the accident. The claimants filed the cross objection against the same, seeking enhancement of compensation. 

At the time, when the trial was sub-judice the legal heirs of the deceased, wife of the original claim petitioner filed a claim petition with the purpose of stating that the claimant received grave injuries through the accident that took place on June 10, 2012  and because of the tragic incident, the deceased lost his life on June 23, 2012. 

The Insurance Company on the other hand, filed a counter statement refusing to take the liability and also contended that involvement of the vehicle in the accident also raised questions on the manner in which the accident took place to assert that the deceased did not die due to injuries sustained from the accident. 

The Tribunal however, ruled that the petitioner died due to the accidental injuries sustained in the accident which took place on June 10, 2012 and a compensation of Rs 6, 76,500 with interest at the rate of 7.5% p.a. was awarded.

This Court after taking into consideration the submissions of both the parties, observed that the accident took place on June 10, 2012 and the involvement of the motorcycle belonging to the first respondent busted into the deceased and she sustained injuries because of the same.

The first respondent however, submitted that deceased was herself ignorant as she did not follow the traffic rules.  The second respondent further disputed that the motor bike belonging to the first respondent was not involved in the accident and they contended that the motor cycle was introduced, indeed by the petitioners in collusion with the owner of the vehicle, the first respondent. 

The Court opined that though the Insurance Company had not disputed the accident but they had not submitted any proof to prove their plea. It was further observed that on  a combined reading of the oral evidence of one of the prosecution witnesses coupled with the discharge summary and rough sketch, it could be deduced  that the accident had taken place due to the rash and negligent driving on the part of the driver of the two wheeler.

Further the Court placed reliance on its ruling in Managing Director, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Dindigul .vs. Kasiraman and four others, wherein it was held that the deceased was in continuous treatment and till death proved, it can be inferred that the death was on account of injuries sustained in the accident. So, in the present case the Court noted that the date of discharge and time of death were very narrow and injury sustained were so severe as recorded in the discharge summary. The Bench found that the deceased had sustained injury in the accident despite treatment, she succumbed to the injuries.

It was also affirmed that the family members were aware of the fact that the petitioner wouldn’t be able to survive for a longer period and because of the same she was shifted to a Government Hospital and hence there was vivid connection between the injury sustained in the accident and the death of the deceased and therefore, it could be inferred that she died due to the accidental injuries. 

Additionally, the Bench said, “Merely because, daughter has got married, the same cannot be a ground to reject her claim Petition seeking compensation for the death of the mother and hence married daughters are also entitled to file claim petition under the Motor Vehicles Act.” It was also observed that the dependency of the daughters need not always be financial, but can also be physical, moral and psychological. 

Thus, keeping in view, the above submissions, the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed by the Insurance Company was dismissed and the Cross Objection filed by the claim petitioner was partly allowed to the extent that compensation was enhanced from Rs.6, 76,500 to Rs.6, 99,600 with interest at 7.5% p.a. from the date of claim petition till the date of realization.

The appellant was also directed to deposit the modified amount with proportionate accrued interest and costs, less the award amount already deposited, within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. On such deposit being made, the claimants have been permitted by the Court to withdraw their share in the award amount so deposited, with proportionate accrued interest and costs, as per the ratio of apportionment made by the Tribunal by filing necessary application before the Tribunal.

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