Can insurance companies meet the immediate treatment costs of accident victims is a question being examined by the Kerala High Court, which has initiated a PIL on its own to look into this issue. The PIL was taken up by the high court based on a letter sent by students of Mariyan International Management Studies at Kuttikanam in Idukki to Justice Sunil Thomas with regard to bearing of immediate or specialist treatment costs of accident victims by insurance companies or their regulator — IRDA.
The students raised the issue after one of their classmates had an accident while returning home. Despite being admitted to a government medical college, her parents had to spend nearly a lakh on facilities like scanning which was not available there and had to be availed from nearby private hospitals, the court noted.
The students have also said in their letter that their classmate’s parents, who work as coolie, had to run from pillar-to-post to arrange money amidst the COVID pandemic.
Therefore, they have urged the high court to direct the insurance companies and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to bear the immediate treatment costs of accident victims and to deduct the amounts from the insurance claim later.
The matter was listed on Wednesday before a bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran which said that the matter will be taken up by the appropriate bench next week.
Senior government pleader V Tekchand appeared for the state of Kerala.
The students, in their letter, have also said that earlier the government had proposed an insurance policy for taking care of emergency treatment of accident victims for the first 48 hours, but insurance companies had opposed the conditions of the same and thereafter, the proposal was axed.
The students have further claimed that there is a Kerala State Human Rights Commission’s order which states that the state government should bear the cost of treatment of accident victims.
“For this, it was proposed to raise a reserve fund by earmarking 10 per cent of the amount collected as fine for petty offences by the police and motor vehicles department.
“The state government was directed to submit an action taken report in this regard before August 30, 2013, but the accidents show that this has not been given due consideration by the state government,” the students have stated in the letter.