The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here has awarded a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the family of an engineer killed in an accident in January, 2002.
The member of the MACT at Kalyan, S P Gogarkar, ordered the respondents -- the erring lorry's owner and The New India Assurance Company Limited -- to jointly and severally make the payment, along with an 8 per cent interest per annum, from the date of the filing of the claim.
The order was passed earlier this month.
The claimants, residing in the Ulhasnagar township of Thane district, informed the tribunal that the deceased, Vinod Ramashankar Pandey (32), was a self-employed civil engineer earning Rs 72,851 per annum.
On January 13, 2002, Pandey and a friend were going towards Hazira from Thane in a car. Near Andhel village at Duwada in Gujarat, where the highway was single-tracked due to some ongoing road work, a lorry came from the opposite direction and to avoid potholes, its driver suddenly swerved right and collided head-on with the car.
Pandey and his friend died on the spot in the accident, the claimants told the tribunal.
Pandey's family, including his 31-year-old wife, aged parents and three minor children, had initially lodged a claim for Rs 12.5 lakh, but later sought an enhanced compensation of Rs 31.75 lakh.
They submitted that Pandey earned sufficiently, enjoyed an active life and would have continued to earn to support his family for years.
The owner of the lorry did not appear before the tribunal and hence, the matter was decided ex-parte against her.
But the insurance company contested the claim, saying the deceased was negligent and that it was a case of contributory negligence. It also said the claim was exorbitant.
After hearing the arguments, MACT member Gogarkar said the evidence adduced about the deceased's earning capacity appeared to be genuine and acceptable.
Considering the evidence on record, supported with the police papers, the claimants had proved that the alleged incident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of the lorry driver, he added.
The defence of contributory negligence was not sustainable as the opponent insurance company had failed to adduce a convincing evidence on that point, Gogarkar observed.
Taking into account the claimants' future loss, mental shock and pain, loss of estate, funeral expenses, transportation charges and the compensation for love and affection, the MACT ordered the lorry owner and the vehicle's insurer to pay Rs 20 lakh to the claimant.