Mistake, negligence no reason to deny compensation for accidents: Dubai Court

Compensation can be denied only if accident is deliberate

Vehicle insurance companies are obliged to compensate people injured in road accidents even if the accident happened because of an error or negligence on the part of the insured person, according to a new legal principle established by the Dubai Court of Cassation.

Mistake or negligence does not prevent the insured person from claiming compensation for damages, the court added.

The insured person will lose his right for compensation only if the injury happened as a result of a felony or misdemeanour committed with deliberate intent, the court ruled.

Based on these principles, the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of an insurance company that had refused to compensate an insured person for accident injuries, claiming mistake and negligence on his part.

The insured person had opened a lawsuit against the insurance company, seeking half a million dirhams as compensation for the losses he suffered. He claimed that he lost control of the steering wheel of  his fully insured car because an insect touched his eye and later fell on his feet. As a result, his car deviated from its track and crashed into the pavement.

He was convicted in misdemeanor case No. 617 of 2010 by the Sharjah traffic court.

He also suffered serious injuries and lost income during the period of medical treatment.

The Court of First Instance ordered the insurance company to pay the plaintiff Dh50,000.

The plaintiff appealed this ruling and sought full compensation. The insurance company also appealed, seeking cancellation of any compensation.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the insured person.

The insurance company appealed to the Court of Cassation, claiming that the insured person was injured because of his negligence.

The Court of Cassation rejected the argument of the insurance company on the basis of Article 1028 of the Civil Transactions Act, ruling that the insured person will not get compensation only he caused the accident intentionally.

If the accident happened because of negligence or mistake, the insurance company is obliged to pay compensation to the insured person, the court ruled.

The court said documents disclosed that injuries caused to the driver of the car were because of his failure to control the car and not the result of a deliberate act. Therefore, he has the right of compensation by the insurance company, it ruled.

 The plaintiff informed the court about the percentage of disability suffered in his foot. The tribunal assessed had his compensation at Dh50,000.

The insured person did not submit to the court any document to prove that he had lost his job and income during the period of medical treatment.  The court therefore rejection compensation on this account.

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