Friday, September 1, 2023

Insurance Company Not Liable If Claimant Was Travelling In Trailer Which Was Not Insured Even If Tractor Was Insured: Supreme Court

Can Insurance Company be Held Liable If Claimant Was Travelling In Trailer Which Was Not Insured But Tractor Was Insured?

The case reached the Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court increased the compensation awarded to the claimant to Rs.9,99,280 with an annual interest rate of 9%. However, the Insurance Company was exonerated by the High Court as the claimant was traveling in the uninsured trailer while the tractor was insured.

The Supreme Court bench agreed with the High Court’s decision, highlighting that the insurance company cannot be held responsible in a situation where the claimant was traveling in an uninsured trailer. However, they noted that the claimant was a 20-year-old woman working as a laborer who was severely injured in the accident, resulting in the amputation of her left lower limb above the knee joint.

Considering the claimant’s 100% disability and the impact on her future marriage prospects and normal life, the bench ruled that it would be impossible for her to recover the compensation amount from the vehicle owner. They referred to their previous judgment in Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Brij Mohan (2007) 7 SCC 56 to support their decision.

As a result, the bench directed the Insurance Company to pay the compensation amount determined by the High Court, along with the accrued interest, and recover the same from the vehicle owner. This decision was made using the Supreme Court’s Article 142 powers, which allow them to exercise discretion in order to ensure justice.

In conclusion, while the insurance company was not held liable for the claimant’s compensation due to the claimant’s presence in an uninsured trailer, the Supreme Court deemed it necessary to award the compensation amount and recover it from the vehicle owner. This ruling serves as a precedent for cases where both the tractor and trailer need to be insured for liability to be imposed on the insurance company.


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  2. This Supreme Court ruling underscores the importance of precise insurance coverage in cases involving accidents with multiple components like tractors and trailers. It highlights that insurance companies cannot be held liable if the claimant was traveling in an uninsured part of the vehicle, even if the primary component, in this case, the tractor, was insured.

    However, the court's decision to ensure compensation for the severely injured claimant by directing the recovery from the vehicle owner demonstrates a balanced approach to justice and emphasizes the need to consider the human aspect of such cases. It also sets a precedent for similar situations, clarifying the role and responsibilities of insurance companies when insuring complex vehicles. For more details, visit Retirement Plan in UAE