India has one of the highest numbers of road accidents in the world. The ever-increasing traffic and poor conditions of roads further contribute to mishaps and accidents. Even if vehicle owners take all precautions while driving, accidents can happen. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has made it mandatory for all four-wheelers to have a 3rd Party Car Insurance Policy to ensure that any damage to the third-party person or property is compensated. You can also opt for a Comprehensive Car Insurance policy that covers damages to your vehicles and self.
However, what if you are not driving any vehicle but suffer damages due to an accident? What will be your rights? Here is a quick look at the rights given to a third party who is a victim of a road accident.
Rights of a Third Party in the Event of a Car Accident
- Right to Information
If you suffer damage due to a road accident and are the victim, then you have the right to get all the necessary information about the insurance policy of the vehicle that caused the damage. This means that you can ask the vehicle owner about the name of the insurance company, the policy number, and the validity date of the policy. You also have the right to know if there are any transferred rights in accordance with Section 150 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
- Right to a fair settlement
When you file a third-party claim for vehicle damage as a third party with the car insurance company of the vehicle that caused the accident and damage to you or your property, then there can be one of these two situations in some cases:
- The Court passes a judgment against the car owner who caused the accident. However, unless you are duly notified by the Court, these judgments do not affect your settlement amount.
- The vehicle owner who caused the accident enters into an agreement with the four-wheeler insurance company that has provided the third-party cover, restricting the latter’s liability in the event of third-party damage. Such agreements are illegal unless you are a party to the same.
- Transfer of the right of insured to third-party, against the insurer
The law mandates the insurance company that when an individual takes insurance for third-party liability, then it has to ensure that all such obligations are fulfilled. However, if the insured becomes insolvent for any reason, then this liability gets transferred from the policyholder to the third party that has suffered the damage. If the insurance company cannot cover the extent of the damage, then the policyholder is liable to fulfil the same.
- Liability of the insurer or insured
As a third-party victim of a road accident, it is important to know who will compensate you for the losses/damage. It is important to understand that the insurer is liable only until the limits are set in the policy. Any 3rd party accident claims above the set amount need to be compensated by the insured person.
Also, in many cases, if the vehicle is sold from one owner to another, registration is not transferred. However, the new owner continues paying the premium and renewing the policy in the name of the old owner. In such cases, the insurance company is not liable for any damage. The new owner, who caused the accident, is liable instead.
- Hit and Run Accident
According to Section 161 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, if an individual is seriously injured or dies due to a hit and run motor accident, then the insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident is liable to pay the victim a fixed compensation specified by the Act.
- No need to establish the fault in the event of permanent disability or death
As per Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, if the third party suffers permanent disability or dies in an accident, then the victim will not have to prove that the death or disability was due to any wrongful act or neglect of the vehicle owner.
So, before you drive on the roads, ensure that you buy car insurance. The process of getting car insurance online is simple and quick. The law has been designed to ensure that any third-party damage is compensated by the vehicle owner or by the insurer of the vehicle. Since all vehicle owners are required to mandatorily have a Third Party Insurance policy, you have the right to claim compensation for the damage caused by the accident/collision. Make sure that you submit the required documents and file a complaint with the police if required.