Mumbai: Mohan was hit with a car while crossing the road and got hospitalised with severe injury. He does not have any accident insurance or any other cover; but does that mean he will have to bear the hospital expenses himself or get satisfied with the whatever compensation offered by the car owner? Or, what happens if the car owner or driver doesn’t admit his guilt and blames the victim for his carelessness, or if he escapes from the scene? Or, how can the victim get compensation if he doesn’t know anything about the vehicle which has hit him?
Yes, every road accident is different and no two occurrences are similar. Some may happen due to the fault of the driver, some due to the carelessness of pedestrians. Disputes and claims raised through such instances involved with personal injury, death of a third party or damage to a third party property is covered under the third party insurance cover.
The way by which Mohan can claim the compensation for the loss of his money and injuries sustained is through the settlement of a third party claim. However, many people are unaware of this process or are hesitant to go ahead with it due to the tiresome process it involves and would raise a claim only in the case of loss of life and get satisfied with whatever moeny is offered as compensation by the other party. However, it is imperative to understand the procedure involved in third party claim.
Understanding Third Party Insurance
Road accidents claim a large number of lives in India every year. Driving a vehicle carefully is the responsibility of all those who drive vehicles. As per the Indian Road Safety Act and Indian Motor Vehicles Act, third party motor insurance is mandatory for all vehicles, irrespective of its age.
All general insurance companies provide third party motor insurance along with vehicle cover as a comprehensive auto insurance policy, or as standalone policies for old vehicles. A comprehensive auto insurance policy contains two parts: Own damages and third party cover.
The own damage portion takes care of the vehicle in instances of damage, while the third party portion covers all damages caused due to the fault of the individual driving the vehicle.
Any bodily harm or injury caused to any third par-ty or damages caused to the party’s vehicle or properties are covered under third party insurance. This includes the driver of the vehicle and third parties include co-passengers, pedestrians, another damaged vehicle or its owner.
There is an unlimited cover for the third party policy by default, where as the maximum limit for third party property damage is Rs 7.5 lakh. There are options to enhance the cover with add-on covers.
How to Make a Third Party Claim:
Filing a third party claim is a long and tedious process. Let us look at the various steps involved in claiming of any third party damage or injury, taking the case of Mohan as an example.
Either Mohan or the driver of the vehicle has to report the event with a local police station and get an FIR (first information report) registered. In most cases, the driver (policy holder) files the case, but in case of instances like escaping or non-admittance of guilt by the driver, the injured can file the case. The case has to be filed with the police station under whose jurisdiction the accident site occurs.
Once the FIR is registered, the police p-repares cha-rgesheet. Thereafter, the victim need to file a case with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
Unlike other civil cases, any accident related cases for third party insurance claims cannot be filled with civil courts and have to be filed only with special Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. The complaint can be registered with the tribunal with jurisdiction either of the accident site or area of residence of the claimant or defendant. Third party damages can be claimed depending on the loss of life, injury or any property damage.
In Mohan's case, since the driver admitted or forced to admit his over speed, the FIR mentioned the cause of the accident and the admission of guilt by the driver of the vehicle.
The driver gets a copy of teh FIR and chargesheet and files a claim with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. The case would come up for hearing as per the backlog and a final decision on the monetary cover would be ordered. The compensation would be given by the third party pool and not the insurance company and the payment will be made directly to Mohan with no active involv-ement of the vehicle owner.
Difficulties in Making a Third Party Claim:
While third party insurance is compulsory as per Motor Vehicles Act, getting a claim can be a tiresome process. It may take a year or more. The settlement gets delayed because of the backlog of cases at the tribunal and also due to judicial process of proving the driver’s fault. The complete narration of the incidence in the police FIR and original records of expenses to substantiate any pecuniary losses.
TPM insurance is the only insurance, which is mandated by law. General Insurance Corporation is the administrator of the pool of money collected from insurers against third party policies.
(The writer is the CEO of BankBazaar.com)