If an ambulance meets with an accident and patient being shifted for better treatment succumbs to his ailment, insurance company would be liable: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court under Justice T.G. Shivanshankare Gowda in National Insurance Company Ltd And Menpa Maistry & others (MFA No. 4286 of 2014) ruled that an insurance provider must compensate a patient who passes away from his ailments when the ambulance he is being transported in for better care in is involved in an accident while en route to the hospital.


The deceased was suffering from Jaundice. On 13.04.2010, for higher treatment, he was carried in an Ambulance from Chikmagalur to Mangalore. At about 2.30 a.m., at Kodekkal Railway over bridge, Alape village it was driven by its driver in a rash and negligent manner and toppled, causing injures to the deceased. He was succumbed to the injuries at Mangalore Hospital. The petitioners moved the Tribunal seeking compensation that the deceased died on account of the accident. The claim was opposed by the respondents on the ground that there is no nexus between the accident and death of the deceased. The Insurance Company is before this court on the ground that there was no nexus between the accident and death of the deceased. FSL report has suggested that the death was due to labour Pneumonia and Tuberculosis with mild steatosis of liver, and it was not on account of the accident. The Tribunal ought to have rejected the claim and also urged that the income taken and assessment of dependency was on higher side.


The court noted that “If the deceased was carried to provide him with better treatment, if he had treated at Mangalore his ailment could have been cured and walked out of the hospital, jaundice is not a fatal ailment, better treatment is available at higher medical centers like Mangalore and for that reason, he was being carried in an Ambulance. The driver though knew that he is carrying a patient, did not take precaution while driving, instead, he negligently caused the accident, due to the impact, the ailment of the deceased was aggravated and the patient died in the hospital”. Hence, there is nexus to accident and cause of death of the deceased, but the percentage may vary and therefore, there is no sound argument on behalf of the insurance company. Hence, the ground urged for dismissal of claim cannot be supported with.

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