Booze odour' no excuse to deny insurance
20 Mar, 2014 12:12 PM
In an order with huge ramifications, a consumer panel in Chandigarh has held that casual noting in medical record mentioning "Alcohol odour in breath" cannot be considered as a ground for any insurance company to repudiate the claim of an accidental vehicle.

The state consumer dispute redressal commission passed the order while deciding a case pertaining to accident of a luxury car that took place in the city in May last year. The commission has also ordered Tata AIG Insurance company to pay Rs 33 lakh to the complainant for the loss of his vehicle.

"Observation of the doctor 'alcohol odour in breath' being not supported by any evidence, in the shape of test of blood of the complainant or any forensic opinion, cannot be accepted as conclusive evidence to prove that the complainant was actually under the influence of liquor," the commission held.

Harpinder Pal Singh had purchased a BMW car for Rs 37.60 lakh on May 25, 2012. When he was going to Sector 70 in Mohali to drop his friend Raj Kumar on the night intervening May 10-11, 2013, he met with an accident near the water works, Sector 52, Chandigarh, when a stray dog came in front of his vehicle. The complainant was first taken to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh and thereafter he took treatment in Fortis hospital, Mohali.

It was submitted that the vehicle was insured for an amount of Rs 33, 72,500 with the Tata AIG Insurance company. As the vehicle was a "total loss", the insurance company was approached for the claim. However, the company repudiated the claim on the ground that the complainant was under the influence of liquor. The company had cited the noting of GMCH doctors, "Alcohol odour in breath" in its report, prepared at the time when the complaint was brought for medical examination. However, the complainant had submitted that he was not under the influence of liquor and averred that the odour of liquor could be on account of the reason that his friend was taking liquor during the occurrence of accident.

Hearing the arguments, the consumer panel held that the insurance company had wrongly repudiated the complainant's claim and ordered the company to pay Rs 33, 70,500 to the complaint for the loss of his vehicle.
Source : The Times Of India

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