Extra Passenger on Bike Contributes to Negligence: Karnataka High Court in Accident Case


Reported By: Salil Tiwari

Last Updated: January 29, 2024, 21:00 IST

The court held that the claimant was entitled to 80% of the recalculated compensation amount, totaling Rs 3,31,383, along with interest at a rate of 6% per annum.(Representative Image/Shutterstock)

The court held that the claimant was entitled to 80% of the recalculated compensation amount, totaling Rs 3,31,383, along with interest at a rate of 6% per annum.(Representative Image/Shutterstock)

The court held that the claimant knowing fully well that there were four persons riding on the motorcycle invited risk for herself being a pillion rider, therefore, she also contributed in negligence towards the accident

In a recent decision, the Karnataka High Court reduced the compensation awarded to a woman injured in a motorbike accident, citing her contributory negligence. The HC emphasised that the woman knowingly assumed risk by riding as a passenger on a motorcycle with four individuals.

A bench of Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar allowed the appeal moved by insurance company ICICI Lombard Company Ltd against the judgment and award by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in the accident case.

The company questioned the quantum of compensation, contending that the claimant woman had contributed her negligence towards the accident.

The counsel for the company submitted that it was a case of fall from bike, therefore, the company was not liable to indemnify the owner and to pay compensation.

Even if the claimant is held to be a pillion rider, but there were three persons riding on the motorcycle and the motorcycle skidded and thus, the claimant knowing fully well that there were three persons riding on the motorcycle invited the risk for herself amounting to contributory negligence, the counsel argued.

On the other hand, the counsel for the claimant submitted that the claimant was a pillion rider and hence the claim petition was maintainable. Just because, there were three pillion riders on the motorcycle is not grounds to say that the claimant had also contributed negligence towards the accident, he contended.

The HC concurred with the argument raised by the counsel for the insurance company. It held that the claimant knowing fully well that there were four persons riding on the motorcycle invited risk for herself being a pillion rider, therefore, she also contributed in negligence towards the accident.

“…it is amounting to 20% of contributory negligence towards the accident. Therefore, whatever amount of compensation is determined by this Court, the claimant is entitled to only 80% of that determined compensation amount,” the court decided.

Noting that the tribunal had granted compensation of Rs 5,87,029 to the claimant under various heads, the HC held that as the claimant had not been terminated from service due to disability caused by the accident, she was not entitled to any compensation towards loss of future earning due to disability.

Moreover, the court held that she was entitled to only compensation of Rs 50,000 under the head loss of amenities.

Hence, while partly allowing the company’s appeal, the court held that the claimant was entitled to 80% of the recalculated compensation amount, totaling Rs 3,31,383, along with interest at a rate of 6% per annum.

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