Four years after an accident that claimed four lives, the driver of the Tata Safari who also died in the crash has been held responsible for rendering one of his friends bedridden with a spinal injury, and his family and the vehicle's insurer have been ordered to pay Rs 87.43 lakh to the friend.
The decision came from the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) on a petition by the kin of 27-year-old Prabhkiran Singh Sandhu, a resident of Phase 11 in SAS Nagar, who is bedridden due to the spinal injuries he received when the SUV rammed into a tree on the Sector 22-23 road on the night of August 29, 2011. He was employed as director for marketing at a private firm in SAS Nagar at the time.
The family and Oriental Insurance Company Limited, as per earlier orders, also have to pay around Rs 90 lakh to the families of two men who died in the accident.
"We have no hesitation to hold that Sandhu suffered injuries in the accident in question due to the rash and negligent driving being driven by deceased Prabhpreet Singh," ruled the tribunal, presided over by additional district and sessions judge Najar Singh, in its February 5 order made available on Tuesday.
It expressly directed Prabhpreet's father Gurpreet Singh and Oriental Insurance to also pay 7.5% interest on the compensation amount with effect from November 2013. As the Tata Safari SUV was owned by Gurpreet and insured by Oriental, the tribunal held them jointly and severally liable.
The accident had occurred when the group of six was returning from a party. While Prabhpreet who was driving, and his three friends - Captain Ranjot Singh Sandhu of the Indian Army, Ramandeep Singh, and Abhinet Pal Singh - died on the spot, Prabhkiran sustained a spine fracture and another man named Amandeep miraculously escaped with minor bruises. After the party at a restaurant in Sector 35, they had gone to Sukhna Lake and were en route to dropping a friend in Sector 22 when a rear tyre of the Safari burst and it hit a tree at a high speed.
The tribunal had in April 2013 also directed Prabhpreet's father and Oriental Insurance to pay Rs 61.38 lakh to the family of Captain Sandhu, who had been commissioned in the 42 Armoured Regiment barely a year earlier in July 2010. Posted at his hometown Amritsar at the time, the captain was on leave and had come to SAS Nagar to stay with his maternal aunt, a college lecturer. Compensation of Rs 28.45 lakh was awarded to the family of software engineer Ramandeep, a resident of Phase 11 in SAS Nagar