Thane Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) presiding judge AS Waghwase held the owner of the trailer and Chola Mandalam general insurance company jointly liable to pay the amount with 9 percent per annum interest to the claimants.

In their application, the deceased's widow Nirmala Mukund Gajbhare (50) and his daughters Seema Mukund Gajbhare and Kiran Mukund Gajbhare stated that Mukund Gajbhare (52) owned a motor garage and was the family's sole earning member.

Applicants' counsel Natha M Jadhav informed the tribunal that on August 6, 2009, Mukund was walking along the road near Ambadi in Thane's Wada taluka when a container got detached from the trailer and fell on him crushing him to death.
Following the accident, the family members lodged a claim of Rs 20 lakhs with the tribunal against the container owner Sheeshpal H Mundai of Beawar Ajmer of Rajastan and Chola Mandalam General Insurance Company.
The family stated that the deceased had an income of around Rs 4.50 lakhs per annum. On account of his death, they had lost their only source of income and livelihood.

The case proceeded ex-parte against the container owner and the insurance company represented and contested the claim itself. The claimants produced the police FIR and panchnama, besides the bank pass books of the deceased as proof of income. The deceased did not have any other income proof like IT returns or pay slips.

In its order, the tribunal observed that Mukund died on account of vehicle getting toppled over him. Therefore, the court does not feel that driver was necessary party. The toppling of tanker could be attributed to various reasons.

There is no evidence about involvement of other vehicles. Spot panchnama reflects about breaking up of excel rod. Probably, this could be the reason of the vehicle's toppling.

It also showed that the mishap occurred due to mechanical defect and under such circumstances, the burden of proving that accident was due to mechanical defects was available to the owner. However, the owner has already been impleaded and failed to appear and contest.
After considering various factors, the tribunal last week awarded a compensation of Rs 10.97 lakhs.


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