Insurance company liable to pay compensation to victim, even if driver was in drunk state: HC

After the accused sought time to find lawyers, the court directed to defer the trial by one month: Manorama Online

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has ruled that the insurance company is liable to pay compensation to the third party, the victim of an accident, even if the driver was in an inebriated state. The court further stated that the company has the right to later recover this amount from the owner and the driver.

Even though the policy certificate states that driving under the influence of alcohol is a violation of the policy conditions, it does not exonerate the company from the payment of compensation to the accident victims. The victim is not supposed to know whether the driver was in an intoxicated state, the court said.

Justice Sophy Thomas passed the verdict while allowing the petition filed by Malappuram native Mohammed Rashid. The petitioner was seriously injured after a car rammed the auto in which he was traveling on December 13, 2013. He filed the petition, complaining that the compensation of Rs 2.4 lakh awarded by the Manjeri tribunal was less.

The National Insurance company contended that as the car driver was in an inebriated state, it was not liable to pay the compensation. But the Kerala HC said that the company is liable to give third-party insurance to the accident victims as long as the policy is valid. And that this amount can later be recovered from the insured, the HC said while pointing out previous judgments of the Supreme Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court.

The company has to pay the compensation amount with 7% interest from the date of filing the petition, within two months. An enhanced compensation of Rs 39,000 has been granted.

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