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Give driver Rs 12 lakh for lorry damage, Chennai consumer court instructs insurance company

CHENNAI: A consumer court in the city has directed an insurance company to pay its customer, a lorry driver, Rs 12.5 lakh after it offered him only Rs 5 lakh for his lorry, which had overturned in an accident.

The driver, V G Jayakumar from Madhavaram, who owned a heavy goods carrying vehicle, availed a ‘Motor Insurance’ package policy from Oriental Insurance company for one year between November 2013 and 2014. The policy involved third party liability (first party the truck owner and second the insurance firm) and Own Damage Risk. The total insured value after legalities was fixed at Rs 15 lakh.

On August 8, around 8 pm, while the driver was carrying goods from Mysuru to Erode, the vehicle overturned due to heavy rains and bad roads. The driver sustained grievous injuries and the vehicle too was damaged. An FIR was registered at a police station in Erode district and a Motor Vehicle Inspector inspected the lorry and reported various damages.

The list contained the type of damages and the degree of the damage – fully damaged front cabin, damage to steering assemble, driver seat, legal body and rear side, among others. Subsequently, the driver filled up a claim form with the detailed list from an authorised dealer giving cost of the parts to be replaced and the labour charges for the same. However, the insurance company appointed their own surveyor to assess the vehicle.

It rejected the driver’s plea and agreed to a net liability of Rs 5,49,486 after initial excess and salvage.

However, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North) found the estimates for the repairs given by the driver tallying with that submitted by the company’s surveyor and the damages mentioned by the surveyor matching those mentioned by the motor vehicle officer.

The forum directed the company to pay Rs 12.5 lakh towards insurance declared value (IDV) and compensation of Rs 10,000 plus Rs 5000 towards litigation expenses.

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