“Can money bring back the use of my right arm and the seven years of pain and suffering my family members have undergone,” asks Shashi Verma, 54, who sustained severe injuries in a road mishap in June 2008 that rendered her arm lifeless.
“Zinda hun, shayad apne bachon ki kismat se (I am alive probably because of children’s good fate,” says Shashi, who could not believe that she would survive the accident in which five of her family members and a driver too sustained injuries as a tanker hit the SUV that they were traveling in.
The accident left her sister-in-law Seema Puri, 47, bedridden, who is still undergoing corrective surgeries to be able to live.
Shashi and her husband, her sister and brother with their spouses, and hired river were on their way from Indore to Delhi after attending the last rites of her mother when their lives completely changed.
“A community agitation for quota was on then, which had hit rail traffic, forcing us to go by road. We hired a taxi. Little did we know our lives would be changed forever after this trip,” says Shashi.
“We had just slowed down to stop to have dinner near Lal Kutiya village in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh when a tanker being driven on the wrong side came and hit us head on. I felt a sharp object ripping through my right arm,” she recall vividly.
“The road was dark for nearly an hour, it seemed, and we were lying with blood all over us. Finally my brother in law who had sustained minor injuries managed to get help. He stopped a truck and with help of a rod break open the car doors to get us out,” adds the mother of two, who had give up holding coaching classes as she is unable to write.
On February 26 last, the accident claims tribunal directed the driver and owner of the tanker and the insurance company to pay Seema `26.6 lakh with 7.5% interest from August 2012, while Shashi was awarded compensation of `10.9 lakh on same terms.
But the money hasn’t yet come. “For accident victims, even basic help does not come easily. We had to fill diesel in the ambulance to be able to reach the hospital, a six-hour commute back to Indore to get proper medical aid,” recalls Shashi’s husband DP Verma who too sustained injures in the accident.
“There is struggle not only for the injured but also for the family,” Shashi says. “Even today, after seven years, I need help for small things, though now I can walk. I still remember my both right limbs were damaged so moving me back to Chandigarh was a difficult task. They had tied me in a bed sheet to bring me home,” she adds, in tears.
“My family is shattered. My sister-in-law is on the bed, cannot move and needs help even today for everything,” Shashi further says. “
Countless rounds of the hospital have not been able to bring our life to normal. But I am thankful to be alive,” she says.
It’s not over yet: The story so far
The case: On June 7, 2008, both Seema Puri, 47, and Shashi Verma, 54, along with four other family members and a driver were coming from Indore to Delhi in a Toyota Qualis. Around 10.30pm, when they slowed down to look for a dhaba in Guna district (MP), a tanker came from the opposite side and hit their SUV. All occupants received injuries, whereas the two women sustained multiple grievous injuries.
The relief: The tanker was being driven by Bechain Ali, and owned by a firma named New Bal Road Lines, from Thane (Maharashtra). They failed to appear before the MACT. New India Assurance Company Limited, the insurer of the tanker, said it was not liable to paying the relief as the tanker was not insured with it at the particular time. On February 26, the claims tribunal directed the driver, owner and insurer to pay Seema `26.6 lakh and Shashi `10.9 lakh with 7.5% interest from August 2012.
Status check: The compensation has not been paid so the family has filed an order execution petition.