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Laws coming to protect third party victims

28 August 2012 01:29 am - 30     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Laws are to be introduced to make it mandatory for motorists to pay compensation to third party or victims of road accidents departing from the current practice of settling the damage only between the two parties involved in the accident.

The issue of getting a majority of road accidents settled between the two drivers or the owners of the vehicles involved under the recently introduced Vehicle Insurance Policy and on the spot payment of compensation without any redress to the victims of the accident has been discussed in detail during the inquiry of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) at the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE).

COPE Chairman  and Senior Minister D.E.W.Gunasekara told the Daily Mirror that the objective of introducing laws to make it mandatory to pay compensation was to protect the interests of road accident victims.

 “Under the Motor Traffic Act, a motor vehicle cannot be put onto the road without a third party insurance. But with the introduction of the Vehicle Insurance Policy in the recent past, the third party or the road accident victims are neglected. In many instances no compensation is paid to them. The accident is being settled between the two parties and the victim is left in the lurch. Our objective by bringing new legislations or introducing amendments to the Motor Traffic Act is to do justice to the road accident victims,” Minister Gunasekara stressed.  

Minister Gunasekara has directed the Chairman of the IBSL to prepare a proper mechanism for third party insurance and make it mandatory as the COPE considers it necessary to explore the possibility of formulating a scheme whereby these victims are sufficiently compensated through Third Party Insurance Policies.

Though the Third Party Insurance has been made mandatory for vehicle owners, the Third Party does not draw any benefit from the existing Third Party Insurance Scheme. The only beneficiaries are the vehicle owners who promptly receive their claims for damages, Minister Gunasekara pointed out.
Minister Gunasekara said he has drawn the attention of Insurance Ombudsman Dr. Wickrama Weerasuriya on the issue as well.

Motor Traffic Commissioner General F.H.Harischandra admitting the injustice meted out to road accident victims said he was contemplating to introduce an amendment to the Motor Traffic Act.

 “Under the proposed amendments, all accidents must be referred to the police”, Mr. Harischandra said.   It is estimated that 80% of road accidents occurred a day were settled through VIP and on the spot settlements.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala addressing a seminar on Road accidents said 2,500 road accident victims succumbed to their injuries annually in Sri Lanka.

“Road accidents and resultant deaths and injuries are a national problem that must be addressed immediately as the damage caused is enormous in the term of lives and injuries sustained on victims and the huge cost to treat over 200,000 who get injured,” Dr. Mahipala stressed.
Dr Mahipala said about 80,000 road accidents occur in Sri Lanka annually and average 6-8 persons die per day from road accidents. The health ministry spends between Rs. one million to ten million to treat a road accident victim and the annual budget exceeds Rs. 3.5 billion A major road accident occurs in Sri Lanka e very 10 minutes. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)

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  Comments - 30

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  • Al Rasa Tuesday, 28 August 2012 05:32 AM

    Here again a system of increase the heavy burden to vehicle users as definitely insurance premiums will go up and a table paying of compensation to the victim(third party should also build up depending on the nature of damage) Instead why can't the minister can restrict paying of compensation by insurance in whatever the way only with a complaint lodged in the Police is to be imposed. Then victim can also be listed in the complain and the police can file a case against the culprit of the accident to pay compensation to the victim personally or through the Insurance Cover.

    rednaxela Sunday, 02 September 2012 04:43 PM

    The law is needed only to insist that the Insurance Company pays damages to all Third Party victims such as passengers, people on the road, cattle, parapet walls, pillars, buildings, guard stones, sign boards, etc, etc. There is no justification in increasing the premium as the Insurance Company is already collecting it but avoiding settlement for damages to Third Parties.

    Hussain Tuesday, 28 August 2012 06:10 PM

    Lets follow the rules in advanced countries, where the victim and the Insurance carrier settle the compensation claims through arbitration or through the courts. Its mandatory that all motorists carry liability insurance to take care of third parties, this covers pedestrians and property.

    Hussain Tuesday, 28 August 2012 05:54 PM

    This will open the flood gates to litigation and blocking the already congested courts system. The present laws are adequate, that is why motor insurance is mandatory and takes care of any third party 'damage' in an accident which is covered under liability insurance.

    Silva de Mervin Tuesday, 28 August 2012 05:05 PM

    Why not a law for protect the killers of witnesses as well?

    Dee Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:13 AM

    they have a proper process, its our people who try to make a fast buck. they sometimes purposely knocking on vehicles on busy roads and saying arm was dislodged etc. you expect insurance companies to come there and dish out money for these jokers?

    Dee Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:01 AM

    wow. good news for the insurance people!

    Dee Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:00 AM

    Personal experience, mobike bloke bashed from the rear left when turning at colour lights, was fallen on the ground and started to moan when i got down, said that he thinks a leg was broken and the bike is a friends, A policeman also came, and said that lets make a police entry. then my insurance man came, i said that the "VICTIM" needs to be taken care of. Insurance said yes, need a medical report from a recognized hospital and a court verdict. Police asked for both (mine and bikes) licences and insurances to proceed. The "VICTIM" has neither, and nicely stopped moaning got up and walked away (i think he limped a bit) The existing law is more than enough, please dont make our already corrupted people more corrupted,

    Sapumal Bandara Tuesday, 28 August 2012 09:12 AM

    Why are our vehicle owners so selfish. They are only worried about the increase in the Insurance Premium totally ignoring the plight of the common man who is the innocent victim of a careless motorist, in most instances.
    This is the typical unfortunate Sri lankan attitude of 20% of our population who are vehicle owners, who care a damn about the others.

    buffaloa citizen Tuesday, 28 August 2012 07:59 AM

    The problem is we do not have cops who will justify. They are all a bag of crooks who will take the side who bribes them most. So even if you are right, the wrong can be manipulated onto your side by the police.

    amila Tuesday, 28 August 2012 07:20 AM

    This is a good move to protect pedestrians and other parties who will be affected by accident. However the issue of valuing personnel injuries and a loss of human life will also come in to the picture. The limit of liability in the third party insurance policy may have to be increased which in turn increase the insurance premium.

    Dias Tuesday, 28 August 2012 07:03 AM

    The law should come like UAE if a person dies the driver should pay the compensation, make them to pay like 2 million RS,if he cant pay till he pays he should be jailed,

    LF Tuesday, 28 August 2012 06:13 AM

    As Kappama says the Minister is going to inconvenience the public and instead should compel the Insurance Companies who are required under the law to adequately compensate the victims. Further unless the vehicle is comprehensively insured the vehicle owner can not claim for the damages on the vehicle under third party Insurance Cover. It is only the third party (property or a person) entitled for damages.

    sltk2004 Tuesday, 28 August 2012 06:32 AM

    I am pretty sure that these policy makers or officials have not had the experience of reporting an accident to the policy or at least getting a copy of a statement from police records. But they are ignoring this truth and trying to give work-arounds to the problem. My view is that this proposed solution will make things worse.

    sltk2004 Tuesday, 28 August 2012 06:22 AM

    I think some content of the news item are incorrect. For instance what is "Vehicle Insurance Policy" or VIP ? It is a brand name that is being used by one insurance company, and there is no specific motor insurance product by that name. What they must be referring to is the so called 'on the spot settlement' that is popular now.

    Even at present the minimum insurance requirement is third party cover. So how can they say that "the accident is being settled between the two parties and the victim is left in the lurch" ? Are they saying that for example in a cases where a pedestrian is involved, the pedestrian will quietly go away if he is a victim ? The main problem we have is the major delay in getting cases settled through courts. That is the reason why almost all the motorist try to settle matters without getting the police or the courts involved.

    MagodisThuma Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:31 AM

    Very good !

    Mendis Tuesday, 28 August 2012 05:29 AM

    I totally agree with MP. Police turns a blind eye towards three wheelers, CTB buses etc but they catch only the cars. But most of the offences are done by these people. Are there 02 laws in Sri Lanka?

    Veda Tuesday, 28 August 2012 05:11 AM

    Better late than never. Insurance cover should pay minimum compensation for death Rs. 500k. If injury, hospital bills, disability and loss of income for the recupertaing period.

    Sapumal Bandara Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:42 AM

    This is an excellent idea. I personally have experienced the grave injustice and the delays caused by litigation, whereby the innocent road accident victim is unnecessarily harassed. Very often, after a few hearings the aggrieved party avoids coming to courts and the case is automatically dropped.

    The best case study would be the famous 'Yaangalmodara Private Bus Train Accident'. Can somebody enlighten the general public as to the exact number of victims compensated and the amounts. Do not try to hide behind secrecy laws and what nots.

    Andrew Pitugala Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:29 AM

    Will this apply to the Ministers, MPs, their outriders and their escorts?

    RuwanL Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:25 AM

    The current practice is to repair your own vehicle no matter who is responsible for the accident. The wrong doer gets off without any punishment. It also has to be a quick settlement where you don't have to go to courts to claim for the repair to your vehicle if the other party is at fault. Let the insurance look after the settlement so that the premium of the wrong doer goes up! The cops should only justify who is at fault according to the motor traffic act and inform the insurance firms.

    Subbiah Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:20 AM

    Good decision. This law is a must .

    Rak Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:26 AM

    Well vehicle owners already pay a premium for covering victims to their insurance providers. Why pay again?.

    It is insurance companies that do not have a friendly process for victims to get any claims.

    Ahmad Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:10 AM

    Agree. There is a clear intention to inconvenience the public. If implemented, vehicle owners cannot get their claims without going to police.

    lk Tuesday, 28 August 2012 04:09 AM

    sometimes even pedestrians are responsible for road accidents. in that case, compensation should be obtained from them!

    Kappama Tuesday, 28 August 2012 03:52 AM

    Current practice where there is no third party involved and the settlements happen between the parties by the insurance outside of courts or on the spot was introduced for the convinience of the public of Sri lanka. The minister's intention is to inconvinience the public under the guise of the third party. If third party have suffered losses then they can file action at a police station or at the accident ward and make direct claims againt the insurance of the people involved in the accident. Let the law simply reduce the court hassle for thirdparty claims to either settlement directy between parties and insurance so it become more convinient and have the corrupt cops involved only in instances where no such settlemetn takes place. all the law has to do is give the ability to the insurance firms to settle the claims of a third party from the insurance of a policy holder with the consent of the policy holder.

    Sammy Tuesday, 28 August 2012 03:41 AM

    Increase in motor insurance premium on the way!

    George Jayawardana Tuesday, 28 August 2012 03:33 AM

    It will be good to consider incorporating a premium into the vehicle registration fee to pay accident victims rather than through a insurance policy. The motor traffic dept should be responsible for its administration.

    MP Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:40 AM

    The Motor Trafific Act is NOT applicable to thrishaw drivers,motorcyclist and bus drivers because it is their ignorance and utter disregard to traffic laws that create accidents and the police are totally ignorant of the law as well...

    Gamarala Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:58 AM

    Finally gov open the eyes. Thank you minister and the rest of
    Staff for this good work

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