When you employ a driver for your vehicle, you take a copy of his driving license in good faith, believing it to be valid and proper.
It is your driver’s duty to drive to your destination. Apart from driving, he is responsible for the safety of your vehicle as well. The first thing you do when you hire a driver for your motor vehicle is taking a copy of his driving license. By default you trust it to be legitimate and authentic. The question is what if it is not? How many people go and get it checked whether the license is legitimate or a fake one? Until or unless a full-fledged query is raised at the RTO of the respective driving license issuing authority, you would not know the reality of the license.
You must be wondering what happens in the case when a driver meets with an accident. The insurer will investigate the various factors including the authenticity of the driver’s license. If it turns out to be a fake one, the claim is rejected in that scenario. Moreover, the vehicle owner who fell to the prey of the driver’s fraud will have to bear the losses from his own pocket, as the car insurance company has refused to settle that claim.
The best of the best insurance plans fail to provide the claim if the license is fake.
Shankar is the owner of the truck that was insured with the New India Assurance for Rs. 8, 88,000. During the transportation, it rammed into a divider and met with an accident. Soon, the insurance company was informed and it assigned a surveyor to investigate the case.
The damage fixing cost was Rs. 34,700 but the claim was not passed by the insurer. After a few months, the same truck caught fire. This time also, the insurer was informed and the claim was filed. Yet again, the insurer declined to settle the claim, irrespective of submitting all the required documents.
Shankar was not able to comprehend why his claims are being rejected. So he issued a legal notice to the insurer. To his surprise, they ignored it. Then he registered his complaints at the district forum for two of his claims. He attested the copy of his damaged cargo and along with that, he included a harassment compensation that summed up to Rs. 11, 75,650. Also, he sought litigation as well as interest costs.
After all these efforts, he got a reply from the car insurance company that his driver Ali, had a fake license. During the investigation, it was found by the alleged license issuing authority that no license had been issued to Ali (hence, the license he was carrying was phony). So that company had all the rights to deny the claim.
The objections were overruled by the district forum and it ordered the insurer to pay Rs. 8, 21,050 including interest, costs and the compensation.
The insurer appealed against this order, which was dismissed by the UP state commission. A revision was filed by the company arguing that the investigations made with the RTO had declared that the license was phony. In addition to that, it was endorsed by the district transport officer who confirmed that no license as such had been issued by the RTO. Shankar was firm that there was no negligence at his end and he had checked the driver’s license that had been renewed twice.
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Various decisions by the apex Supreme Court on phony/ forged driving licenses were considered by the National Commission. It was noticed that the court stated that no claim shall be payable if the license was found to be phony or even if it was renewed with the concerned authority. So, the National Commission stated that Shankar’s claim was denied on fair grounds.
How can you ensure that your Drivers’ License is Valid?
At your end, you can verify your driver’s license with the RTO. It is a very simple and easy process. All you need to do is make an application under the Right to Information Act. If you hire your driver without ensuring the genuineness of his license, then despite having an active policy, you could end up with denied insurance coverage or claim.
Be 100 percent sure when it comes to employing a driver so that you don’t have to bear the claim amount from your own pocket, despite having adequate insurance coverage.
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