In motor accident claims, even employed sons and married daughters can apply for compensation for the death of their working mother, the Supreme Court ruled in its judgment last week in the case National Insurance Company vs Birender. Though they are not strictly “dependents” of their employed mother who died in a road accident, they are “legal representatives” according to Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The woman, in this case, died when a dumper hit the motorbike while riding pillion on way to her government office. The two sons filed a claim petition. The insurance company resisted it on several grounds but the main ground was that the sons were earning wages and were not dependent upon the income of their mother. The case traveled from the tribunal to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Supreme Court. Finally, the apex court declared that even though the sons were earning wages, and married, they were entitled to compensation as legal representatives of their mother. The court asserted that the liability of the insurance company does not cease because of the absence of dependency of the concerned legal representatives. The compensation constitutes part of the “estate” of the deceased. As a result, the legal representatives of the deceased would inherit the estate.
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First Published: Sun, January 19 2020. 23:08 IST