The Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 came with the objective of amending the laws related to the Motor Vehicles. There are many issues which come under the preview of the Act and claiming of losses is one such them.

The Act provides for the claim of losses which are of two types:

  1. Damage to other: Damage is done to the property of someone else which is known as the third party.
  2. Damage to self: Damage done to one’s own insured vehicle. This is called “own damage claim” and one is entitled to it if they are holding a package or a comprehensive policy.

Third Party Claims

In the case of third party claims, it is necessary to report the accident immediately to the police authorities as well as to the insurance company. However, for a third party who has suffered loss because of someone else’s vehicle, the injured party must obtain the insurance details of the vehicle and make an intimation to the insurer of that vehicle.

Damage to self

In the event of an own damage claim, which is where the person’s own vehicle is damaged due to an accident, the person must immediately inform the insurance company and police, wherever required, to enable them to depute a surveyor to assess the loss.

Theft Claim:

Insurance can also be claimed against the loss of a stolen vehicle.  A person should definitely inform the insurance company is the vehicle is insured. One of the important things which need to be kept in mind is that it is important to read the policy documents as soon as they are received from the insurance company. This helps in understanding the documents required and the procedure to be followed in case a claim arises. There are special requirements for every kind of claim. Care must be taken to follow the instructions properly. Eg. Surrendering the car keys in case of a stolen car.

Procedure for Filing an Application for Compensation

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 describes the procedure of filing of an application for compensation in Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.

Who May Apply?

An application for compensation arising out of an accident under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 may be made:-

  • By the person who has sustained the injury, or
  • By the owner of the property, or
  • Where the death has resulted from the accident, by the legal representatives of the deceased, or
  • By any agent duly authorized by the person injured.

When Legal Representatives of the Deceased are not joined in the application

  • The application shall be made on behalf of or for the benefit of all the legal representatives of the deceased;
  • The legal representatives, who have not so joined, shall be impleaded as respondents to the application.

Supply of Information

Section 158 of the Motor Accident Act, 1988 states after the procedure for the claiming of the insured amount. As per the prescribed Section any information regarding any accident involving death or bodily injury to any person is recorded or report is completed by a police officer, the officer in charge of the police station shall forward a copy of the same within thirty days from the date of recording of information or as the case may be, and on completion of such report the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction can provide copy thereof to the concerned insurer.


In every legal suit, the concept of jurisdiction plays an important role. It tells us which Court has the authority to hear the matter. Every application for compensation arising out of an accident involving death or bodily injury shall be made, at the option of the claimant:

  1. Either to the claims tribunal having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred or
  2. To the claims tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant resides and shall be, in such form and contain such particulars as may be prescribed.


The limitation period tells us that within what time period the suit can be filed in the Court. In the cases of the compensation for the motor accident, the application should be made within six months of the occurrence of the accident. However, the claim tribunal can entertain the application after the expiry of six months but not later than twelve months if the sufficient cause for delay in filing the application is given.

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