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FATAL ACCIDENTS ACT, 1855

 

Sections

CONTENTS


 


 

Preamble


 

1

Suit for compensation to the family of a person for loss occasioned to it by his death by actionable wrong


 

2

Not more than one suit to be brought


 

3

Plaintiff shall deliver particulars etc


 

4

Interpretation-clause


 


 

FATAL ACCIDENTS ACT, 1855


XIII OF 1855


27th March, 1855


An Act to provide compensation to families

for loss occasioned by the death of a person caused by actionable wrong.


             Preamble: Whereas no action or suit is now maintainable in any Court against a person who, by his wrongful act, neglect or default, may have caused the death of another person, and it is often-times right and expedient that the wrong-doer in such case should be answerable in damages for the injury so caused by him: It is enacted as follows:-


            1.       Suit for compensation to the family of a person for loss occasioned to it by his death by actionable wrong: Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act neglect or default is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the party who would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action or suit for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony or other crime.


 

     Every such action or suit shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, parent and child, if any, of the person whose death shall have been so caused, and shall he brought by and in the name of the executor, administrator or representative of the person deceased:

          and every such action the Court may give such damages as it may think proportioned to the loss resulting from such death to the parties respectively, for whom and for whose benefit such action shall be brought: and the amount so recovered, after deducting all costs and expenses, including the costs not recovered from the defendant, shall be divided amongst the before-mentioned parties, or any of them, in such shares as the Court by its judgment or decree shall direct.


 

     Joint ownership of vehicle-Defendant had purchased the vehicle from Bank under Hire purchase Agreement-Predecessor of plaintiffs died due to rash and negligent driving of one of the defendants while the vehicle was owned by the other defendant-Plea raised by the defendants was that as the vehicle was registered jointly in the name of the defendant and the Bank, therefore, the bank was liable to pay the damages. As per the Registration Certificate on the record the Bank had only been mentioned as a banker and so also it had been clearly stated that the vehicle was purchased under Hire Purchase agreement with the bank-Bank was not the joint owner of the vehicle and the defendant was the only owner of the vehicle-Bank was not liable to pay any damages-Suit was dismissed to the extent of Bank in circumstances. PLD 2004 Kar. 93


 

            Determination of amount of compensation–suit filed by father of deceased who died in the accident due to negligent and rash driving of bus by defendant, was dismissed by (single judge) of the High court holding that plaintiff had failed to prove that death of the deceased was caused due to negligent and rash driving of defendant-Findings of High court that it was an unwitnessed accident was not justified because plaintiff had produced witness who saw the accident-Even if it was accepted that it was unwitnessed accident, then too, the doctrine of ‘res ipsa loquitor’ would apply in the case which meant that ‘the things speak for themselves’-Applicability of said doctrine in the cases of negligence to the effect that once the factum of accident was established by the plaintiff, the burden to show absence of negligence would shift on the defendant-Factum of accident in the present case was not in dispute as not only same was proved by the plaintiff by producing all relevant documents, but defendant had also admitted that bus driven by him did meet with an accident by which deceased who was riding the motorcycle was hit-Defendant only had disputed the factum of rash and negligent driving by him-Doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, was fully attracted, in circumstances- Plaintiff who had proved his case by leading documentary, as well as oral evidence was entitled to relief of damages/compensation sought by him-judgment of (Single judge) of High court not based on material on record and being erroneous, was et aside and suit filed by plaintiff was decreed accordingly. 2004 M L D 361


 

            Onus to prove accident–where defendants failed to produce driver of the bus involved in the accident, adverse presumption would be drawn against them-Once factum of fatal accident was proved, the burden of plaintiff was discharged and presumption of negligence arose and it was for the defendants to prove the absence of negligence and rashness on their part-Doctrine of  ‘res ipsa loquitur’ was applicable in circumstances. 2004 M L D 491


 

            Liability to pay damages-Factum of accident had not been denied by the witness of the defendants-Eye-witness of the incident who had given a detailed account of the accident imputed negligence and rashness on the part of the driver-Eye-witness was not contradicted in material details by the defendants-Effect-Deceased had died as a result of injuries received by him in the accident caused by the driver while driving the bus owned by the other defendant in a reckless and negligent manner— Owner of the bus having assumed the liabilities of the driver was liable to compensate the plaintiffs under Fatal Accidents Act, 1855-Judgment and decree were passed against the defendants jointly and severally-Suit was decreed accordingly. 2004 M L D 518


 

            Limitation for Suit – Minor plaintiff-Benefit of S. 6 of Limitation Act, 1908-Applicability-father of plaintiff died on 27.4.1983, due to rash and negligent driving of defendant and the suit was filed on 30-11-1986-Plaintiff was three years old at the time of accident and did not file the suit within one year of the accident — Plea raised by the defendant was that under Art. 21 of Limitation Act, 1908, the limitation was one year, thus the suit was time-barred– Where plaintiff was minor, in view of S. 2 of Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, the benefit of S.6 of Limitation Act, 1908, could be given to him-Suit was not time-barred in circumstances. 2004 M L D 528

        

            Suit for damages under Fatal Accidents Act, 1855-Allegation in the plaint was that the deceased after receiving bullet injury, had died due to the act of negligence of the defendants in refusing to provide medical aid-Application for rejection of plaint by the defendants on the ground that suit as framed under Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 was without “cause of action” and not maintainable in law as the deceased person was not injured by the wrongful act, negligence or default of the defendants and as such no cause of action accrued to the plaintiff to file the suit and plaint was liable to be rejected-Validity-Rejection of plaint by the court-Conditions-Term “cause of action” as mentioned in the act— Meaning and nature-Expression “is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damage in respect thereof” occurring in Fatal Accidents Act, 1855-Connotation-Contention that there was no privity of contract between the parties and that the defendants were under no obligation to treat the deceased was repelled with the observation that any hospital legally, morally and ethically could not under any circumstances refuse and or deny to provide emergency medical treatment to a patient, especially if the dame was of a graver nature as in the present case-Application for rejection of plaint was rejected in circumstances-Principles. PLD 2003 Kar. 373

   

               2.        Not more than one suit to be brought. Claim for lose to estate may be added. Provided always that no more than one action or suit shall be brought for, and in respect of the same subject-matter of complain. Provided that, in any such action or suit, the executor, administrator or representative of the deceased may insert a claim for and recover any pecuniary loss to the estate of the deceased occasioned by such wrongful act, neglect, or default, which sum, when recovered, shall be deemed part of the assets of the estate of the deceased.

           
              3.         Plaintiff shall deliver particulars etc. The plaint in any such action or suit shall give a full particular of the person or persons for whom, or on whose behalf, such action or suit shall be brought, and of the nature of the claim in respect of which damages shall be sought to be recovered.

 
             4.       Interpretation-clause. The following words and expressions are intended to have the meanings hereby assigned to them respectively so far as such meanings are not excluded by the context or by the nature of the subject-matter; that is to say the word 'person' shall apply to bodies politic and corporate; and the word 'parent' shall include father and mother and grand father and grand mother; and the word 'child' shall include son and grand son and grand daughter and step-daughter.

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