Motor Vehicles accident claim

1. Around 15 days back, a two wheeler slid in from the opposite side of road and hit my car's rear door very low since it came in sliding. The incident of the rider was caused by some other reason unknown to me since it was beginning to get dark. 2. The police had taken me to their police station and after questioning me and having a look at my vehicle told me to go as they were convinced that the accident was not caused by me. 3. Now, close to 15 days later, they have informed me that the individual succumbed to his injuries and his family members want to file an FIR against me. I have been summoned to the police station. 4. I understand that this is most likely a case to trying to get money out of me. 5. Kindly advice as to how I should go about it. Is there anything to be afraid of since I was no way connected to the accident but they may try to bring in fake witnesses.

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The person who brings the petition for compensation, must show that the other party (you, here) was negligent. For a person to be legally responsible for his action, it is essential to have evidence that he is at fault. Negligence ordinarily means either not doing something which a reasonable man would or should do, or by doing something which a reasonable or prudent man would not do.

In injury cases, it is the injured who is the claimant. In Death Cases, the legal heirs of the deceased are claimants, But the legal representative of a person who is himself guilty of rash and negligent driving, cannot claim compensation.[1] I am not sure if by “opposite side of the road” you mean the wrong side of the road. In that case, let us look at the element of “contributory negligence” here. Contributory negligence is when “A” does not avoid the consequences arising from the negligence of “B”, even though he has a chance to do so. The question of contributory negligence would arise only when both parties are found to be negligent. Please note that if it is proved that you were negligent, either way (contributory negligence or not), they still can ask for compensation. It is the amount that will get affected, if contributory negligence is proven.


In your case Section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code which provides for offences relating to death due to negligence, might be applied. The State has to prove that the accident took place with your vehicle and that you were driving the same rashly and negligently. In such cases the statements of the eye witnesses (if any) to the accident is required to be produced during the trial. If you think there is a possibility that there may be fake witnesses, then you must be prepared to disprove their statements.


[1] Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Raji Devi, (2008) 5 SCC 736

Answered on December 27, 2016.
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