It took four years and innumerable court visits. Seven-year-old Samruddhi Ghogare, who lost her left leg in an accident involving a PMPML bus driver on May 1, 2013, has finally got justice. The victim’s father, who had filed a case of negligence against the driver and the civic body, said he received a compensation of Rs 32 lakh last week, three months after the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) ruled in the former’s favour.
The girl was less than three years old when the accident took place. She was waiting with her mother Rajashri at a bus stop in Ramtekdi when PMPML bus driver Vikas Gawade, who had lost control of the vehicle, crashed into the stop. The girl’s left leg got stuck between the bus and the railing of the stop, resulting in severe injuries. It had to be amputated.
Her father Satyappa said while PMPML paid the hospital bills immediately after the accident, they refused to pay any post-operative cost, including prosthetic legs. “She requires a prosthetic leg every couple of years. As her height, weight and structure changes, we have to change the prosthetic leg. We are a lower middle-class family and she is our only child, we couldn’t see her suffer. So, we decided to move the tribunal for compensation,” he said.
Represented by advocate Vikas Shinde, Satyappa filed an application in September 2013 and, after four years, justice finally came when in May this year, the tribunal found the driver guilty of negligence and rash driving, approving the family’s claim against the driver and PMPML for compensation.
Relying on the testimony that an artificial prosthesis/limb would have to be replaced every three years and also inflationary factors, the tribunal awarded an amount of Rs 15 lakh towards prosthesis, Rs 3 lakh each for loss of comfort and pain; and Rs 9 lakh for suffering and effect on future matrimonial prospects. Another Rs 25,000 each was awarded towards conveyance and special food parents had to arrange. A sum total of Rs 24.5 lakh along with 9 per cent interest from the date of application was received by the Ghogares last week. “Two-thirds of it has been put in a FD account by the order of the tribunal and one-third into my account towards her medical expenses,” Satyappa said.
While the money wouldn’t take away the little girl’s suffering it can make her life easier and more secure, said her father. The girl, who is now in Class I, needs an immediate operation, which the money would help pay for. “There is a small bone, which is protruding near the point where her leg has been amputated. It pains at times when she wears the prosthesis and the surgeon said we have to get it operated. We didn’t have any other children as we wanted to give the best we can to her. I worried about her future, given our financial condition but at least financially she is secure now,” her father said.