K.T. Sangameswaran

He died of a head injury after the lorry in which he was travelling overturned

CHENNAI: A Court of Small Causes, Chennai, has ordered United India Insurance Company to pay Rs. 4,34,500 in compensation, including the interim award if passed, with 12 per cent interest, to the family of a lorry loadman who died in an accident in 2003.

In their petition, filed by counsel V.S. Suresh, S. Kuppammal, wife of the loadman, and his daughter Valli and son S. Devaraj, said Sagadevan, 45, died of a head injury after the lorry in which he was travelling overturned in a ditch at Thorapakkam near Tharaipalam on December 20, 2003. The vehicle was coming from Poonamallee to Sholinganallur when the accident occurred.

The insurance company argued that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of accident. The owner knowingly allowed him to drive, thus violating the terms and conditions of the policy. The loadman did not control the driver when he knew that he was driving the vehicle in a rash manner.

V. Murali Sundaram, Judge, III Court of Small Causes, held that the driver was responsible for the accident. The owner was liable to pay compensation to the petitioners, as he did not prove that the driver had a valid driving licence. The company did not disprove the insurance particulars furnished in the petition. Hence, the company was liable to satisfy the award and recover it from the lorry owner.

The judge said payment of 12 per cent interest had been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The company should deposit the sum in the court. While Kuppammal was granted 50 per cent of the compensation, her two children were granted 25 per cent each, and their shares should be deposited in a nationalised bank for three years.