A tyre burst is not an act of God but human negligence, the Bombay High Court remarked while rejecting an insurance company’s plea against compensation to the family of a man killed in a car accident.
A single bench of Justice S G Dige in its February 17 order dismissed the appeal filed by New India Assurance Company Limited against a 2016 ruling of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal directing it to pay Rs 1.25 crore to victim Makarand Patwardhan’s family.
On October 25, 2010, Patwardhan (38) was travelling from Pune to Mumbai with two colleagues.
The colleague who owned the car was speeding in a rash and negligent manner when the rear wheel burst and the car fell into a deep ditch, killing Patwardhan on the spot.
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The tribunal in its order had noted the victim was the sole bread-earner of his family.
The insurance company in its appeal said the compensation amount was exorbitant and excessive and that the tyre burst was an act of God and not negligence on the part of the driver.
The HC, however, refused to accept this contention and said the dictionary meaning of ”act of God” was ”an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation.” ”It refers to a severe unanticipated natural event for which no human is responsible. The bursting of a tyre cannot be termed as an act of God. It is an act of human negligence,” the court said.
It added there are various reasons for tyre burst such as high speed, underinflated, overinflated or second-hand tyres and temperature.
”The driver or owner of the vehicle has to check the condition of the tyre before travelling. Burst of tyre cannot be termed a natural act. It is human negligence,” the order said.
Merely stating a burst of tyre is an act of God cannot be a ground to exonerate the insurance company from paying compensation, the HC added.