Insurer not liable to pay if victim at fault

 An insurance company cannot be held liable to compensate a road mishap victim or if he dies, his family, if the accident takes place because of his negligence and someone else also gets injured, the Delhi high court has said. 

If the accident takes place because of the “wrongful act” , “neglect” or “default” of the mishap victim himself, even if he dies, he or his family is not entitled to any compensation from the owner or insurer of the vehicle involved in the accident, Justice G P Mittal noted in a recent order . The HC clarified that in case of an accident an insurance firm “indemnifies the owner on the basis of the contract of insurance where a third party is involved… ” 

In case the owner himself causes injury to others he cannot claim compensation from his own insurer for a third party policy, HC added, saying “It is thus obvious that in the absence of any contract for insurance, the appellant insurance company was not liable to pay any compensation.” 

The court’s observations came while deciding an appeal by New India Insurance Co Ltd against a Motor Accident Claim Tribunal’s verdict which had asked the insurance firm to pay Rs 4.20 lakh as compensation to the family members of Deepak Jain who had received fatal injuries in an accident on February 5, 2002 near Azadpur. The victim was driving his father’s two-wheeler. 

Setting aside the lower court verdict, Justice Mittal said the FIR admits that the victim too was driving rashly and his scooter hit a woman where he received fatal injuries. The woman survived and escaped with minor wounds in the accident. 
HC said the family members of the victim did not produce any evidence to show that there was failure of brakes due to which the victim rammed the scooter into the woman. It allowed the appeal of the insurance firm saying “the compensation amount deposited by the appellant insurance company with the tribunal shall be refunded along with interest accrued, if any, during the pendency of the appeal.”

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