‘Accident claim can’t be rejected despite law being violated’

Violation of the law or of provisions of Motor Vehicles (MV) Act should not be grounds for complete rejection of an accident claim, the state consumer commission has held while hearing an appeal filed by an insurance company.

The company had challenged an order of the district forum, which had directed the company to pay the owner of a truck for total damages caused during an accident. The company sought complete rejection of the claim since the driver was talking on his mobile phone while driving, which amounted to violating the MV Act.

The commission, however, rejected the company’s contention and observed, “Violation will not result in total rejection or repudiation of the claim. It ought to have been settled on a ‘non-standard basis’ at 75% of the admissible claim.”

On March 21, 2007, the truck owned by Pandharinath Satre—a transport contractor at Wadi bunder, Mumbai—had met with an accident on the Mumbai–Goa highway.

After the accident, a surveyor had assessed the damages to the truck at Rs 90,000. However, Satre had filed an insurance claim for Rs 2.38 lakh.

The insurance company, however, rejected the claim based on the police complaint which stated that the driver had been talking on the mobile phone. Aggrieved by the rejection, in 2008 Satre moved the district forum at Raigad, Alibaug.

After the district forum also rejected the contentions of the company, since it had failed to prove the violation, the company challenged the order before the state consumer commission.

However, the commission, too, rejected the plea for total rejection of the claim and instead reduced the claim amount to Rs 67,500 from Rs 90,000.


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