7 years after Class 3 student hit by tempo, Rs 3.36 lakh compensation

insurance Company argues driver was neither negligent not speeding, MACT says drivers should observe extra caution near schools

Seven years after a tempo-truck hit him, an accident that caused 52 per cent permanent lower-limb disability in Rohidas Arun Gaikwad, he was recently awarded Rs 3.36 lakh by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), which set aside the argument of vehicle-insurer New India Assurance Company Ltd that the driver was neither speeding nor was he negligent.

Rohidas, from Purandar, was in Class III when the accident took place. In the afternoon of November 25, 2005, during recess, a speeding tempo hit him on the Narayanpur-Saswad road in front of his school, causing a fracture in his left knee and a crushed pelvis. He was taken to a government hospital and immediately shifted to Sancheti Hospital in Pune where he was under treatment till January 10, 2006.

His father Arun Gaikwad moved the MACT against Darshan Goankar, the owner of the tempo, and New India Assurance Company Limited.

While the owner remained absent in court, the insurance company contended that the boy had abruptly came running in front of the tempo causing the accident and that the driver was not speeding or driving negligently.

Vinay Joshi, president, MACT, observed, "It goes without saying that when heavy vehicles like a tempo are driven near a school, particularly during school hours, it is the duty of the driver to exercise due care and caution. One cannot blame little schoolboys who tend to be somewhat careless on roads,"

According to Dr Chetan Pradhan of Sancheti Hospital who had treated Rohidas, other than a knee-fracture the child had a crushing injury in the pelvis and lower limb for which he was operated upon thrice.

Dr Pradhan had certified that Rohidas suffered 52 per cent permanent disability in the accident. "Implants have been inserted in his left leg that requires removal after a few years," the doctor stated in his medical report.

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