Tag Archives: Motor Vehicles Act

Accident – Meaning of

A line of precedents, have dealt with the meaning of the expression “accident”. In Union of India v. Sunil Kumar Ghosh, (1984) 4 SCC 246 it was held that:

“An accident is an occurrence or an event which is unforeseen and startles one when it takes place but does not startle one when it does not take place. It is the happening of the unexpected, not the happening of the expected, which is called an accident. In other words, an event or occurrence the happening of which is ordinarily expected in the normal course by almost everyone undertaking a rail journey cannot be called an “accident”. But the happening of something which is not inherent in the normal course of events, and which is not ordinarily expected to happen or occur, is called a mishap or an accident.”

In a subsequent decision in ESI Corpn. v. Francis De Costa , 1993 Supp (4) SCC 100, the expression “accident” was defined as follows:

“The popular and ordinary sense of the word “accident” means the mishap or an untoward happening not expected and designed to have an occurrence is an accident. It must be regarded as an accident, from the point of view of the workman who suffers from it, that its occurrence is unexpected and without design on his part, although either intentionally caused by the author of the act or otherwise.”

The same principle was adopted in Jyothi Ademma v. Plant Engineer , (2006) 5 SCC 513, where it was held as under :

“The expression “accident” means an untoward mishap which is not expected or designed.”

P. Ramanatha Aiyar’s Law Lexicon, 3rd Edn., 2012, defines the expression “accident”:

“an event that takes place without one’s foresight or expectation; and event that proceeds from an unknown cause, or is an unusual effect of a known cause, and therefore not expected, chance, causality, contingency.”

The above Law Lexicon, relying on Lovelace v. Travelers’ Protective Assn., 47 Am St Rep 638 : 126 Mo 104 (1894), defines the expression “death by accident” as:

“Death from any unexpected event which happens, as by chance, or which does not take place according to the usual course of things.”

In order to constitute an accident, the event must be in the nature of an occurrence which is unnatural, unforeseen or unexpected.     National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mousumi Bhattacharjee, (2019) 5 SCC 391

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Widow Remains Legal Representative Even After Remarriage

Widow even after remarriage continues to be the legal representative of her husband as there is no provision under the Hindu Succession Act or any other law laying down that after remarriage she does not continue to be the legal representative. The right of succession accrues immediately on death of her husband and in the absence of any provision, she cannot be divested from the property vested on her due to remarriage.
Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2007 SC 1474, while considering the question as to whether a married daughter could maintain a claim petition in terms of Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act and whether she would be entitled to any compensation as she was dependent upon the deceased, considered the provisions of Sections 166 and 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure and relying upon the earlier observations of the Court in Custodian of Branches of BANCO National Ultramarion v. Nalini Bai Naique, (1989) 2 SCR 810, observed that the definition contained in Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure in inclusive in character and its scope is wide, it is not confined to legal heirs only. Instead it stipulates that a person who may or may not be legal heir competent to inherit the property of the deceased can represent the estate of the deceased person. It includes heirs as well as persons who represent the estate even without title either as executors or administrators in possession of the estate of the deceased. All such persons would be covered by the expression ‘legal representative’. As observed in Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation v. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai, (1987) 3 SCR 404, a legal representative is one who suffers on account of death of a person due to motor accident and need not necessarily be a wife, husband parent and child.
Delhi High Court in Ram Kishan v. Meena Kumari, 2011 ACJ 1211, has held that remarriage will not deprive a person from claiming compensation for the death of her/his spouse. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Smt. Baby, 2017 (2) AWC 1181.

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Composite Negligence and Contributory Negligence – Difference Between

Composite Negligence refers to the negligence on the part of two or more persons. Where a person is injured as a result of negligence on the part of two or more wrongdoers, it is said that the person was injured on account of the composite negligence of those wrongdoers. In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them. In such a case, the injured need not establish the extent of responsibility of each wrongdoer separately. On the other hand where a person suffers injury, partly due to the negligence on the part of another person or persons, and partly as a result of his own negligence, then the negligence of the part of the injured which contributed to the accident is referred to as his contributory negligence. When the injured is guilty of some negligence, his claim for damages is not defeated merely by reason of the negligence on his part but the damages recoverable by him in respect of the injuries stands reduced in proportion to his contributory negligence. Khenyei v. New India Assurance Company Ltd., 2015 (3) AWC 2945.

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Composite Negligence and Contributory Negligence – Difference Between

‘Composite Negligence’ refers to the negligence on the part of two or more persons. Where a person is injured as a result of negligence on the part of two or more wrong doers, it is said that the person was injured on account of the composite negligence of those wrongdoers. In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them. In such a case, the injured need not establish the extent of responsibility of each wrongdoer separately, nor is it necessary for the court to determine the extent of liability of each wrongdoer separately. On the other hand where a person suffers injury, partly due to the negligence on the part of another person or persons and partly as a result of his own negligence, then the negligence on the part of the injured which contributed to the accident is referred to as his ‘contributory negligence’. Where the injured is guilty of some negligence, his claim for damages is not defeated merely by reason of the negligence on his part but the damages recoverable by him in respect of the injuries stand reduced in proportion to his contributory negligence. Pawan Kumar v. Harkishan Dass Mohan Lal and others, (2014) 3 SCC 590.

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