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Man to pay dearly for not transferring vehicle ownership

Thursday, July 11, 2019
By Bhavna Uchil

A Tribunal has ordered him to pay Rs. 17.5 lakh as compensation to an accident victim though he had unofficially already sold the car

A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has ordered the owner of a vehicle that had met with an accident in 2013 to pay a heavy compensation to an accident victim, a 16-year-old girl. Interestingly, the man had already sold the vehicle to the father of the victim, but had not transferred its ownership in his name.

The accident had taken place in July 2013 when the family along with the victim was travelling in mumbai-Pune expressway. The car met with an accident in Talegaon, allegedly due to rash driving.

The minor girl, filing an application in the Tribunal through her mother, had made a claim of Rs. 25 lakhs from the owner of the vehicle as the accident had taken place due to rash and negligent driving by its driver. The application stated that she had suffered serious spinal injuries and paraplegia due to the accident and permanent partial disability to the extent of 52 per cent.

During her cross-examination though, the mother of the victim girl admitted in court that it was indeed her husband, the father of the victim girl, who was driving the car at the time of the accident. She told that the car had been sold to her husband before the accident took place. The car, however, was still in the name of the previous owner.

The victim had also claimed compensation from the insurance company. The insurance company had stated that they were not liable to pay compensation as the insurance policy was in the name of a different person altogether, who was the first owner of the vehicle and that subsequent transfer of ownerships were not informed to them.

In its judgment, the Tribunal found that the the registered owner of the vehicle was liable to pay compensation. It stated that the admission of the victim's mother that on the day of the accident the girl's father was driving the vehicle cannot be accepted as “the registration of the offending car is not transferred in his (victim's father's) name” and that he is liable to pay compensation “being registered owner”.

Regarding the liability of the insurance company, it said, “..when the vehicle is transferred and the transferee paid the premium and renewed the insurance policy after expiry in favour of registered owner, the non-renewal of the policy in the name of owner do not absolve the insurance company from liability..though the insurance policy is not renewed in name of purchaser the insurance company cannot deny the liability to pay compensation.”

The registered owner, an Andheri resident was ordered to pay Rs. 17.5 lakh to the minor girl with interest of 7.5 per cent per annum from the date of filing of application, that is 2013, till fully paid. The insurance company was also ordered to pay compensation amount and recover it from the registered owner. 

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