Accident Victims Suffer As Ignorance Of Third Party Insurance Lingers On

6031 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Accident victims in Uganda continue to bear all the medical and mechanical costs related to the accident despite the fact that third party insurance is supposed to help motorists meet these costs.

While for most people the festive season is a time to make merry, celebrate with the family and friends away from the busy and perhaps stressful work days, others spend the holiday nursing wounds and grieving due to road accidents.
 
And in most instances, the accident victims bear all the medical and mechanical costs related to the accident. This is despite the fact that third party insurance is supposed to help motorists meet these costs.
 
Cerino Otim, a resident of Luriza on the outskirts of Kampala city narrated to URN how he once fractured a leg in a road accident and spent months undergoing treatment whose costs he bore alone. Like most passengers, Otim said he knew nothing about motor third party and what it means for him.
 
In 1989, the parliament of Uganda passed a law, The Motor Vehicle Insurance or Third Party Risks Act. The law provides for compulsory insurance of vehicles against third party risks. According to the law, every vehicle is supposed to be insured to cover for the passenger in case of an accident. The law provides that a passenger who gets injured or killed in an accident should be compensated.
 
Despite this legal requirement, many passengers and indeed accident victims remain clueless about their rights. The media always has headlines about so many killed or injured in accidents but goes only as far.
 
Mariam Nalunkuuma, the Communications Officer at Insurance Regulatory Authority, a body created to supervise and control insurance business in Uganda says that they are aware about the state of ignorance among the public on how third party insurance operates.
 
She said told Uganda Radio Network that they have embarked on public sensitization campaigns to address the problem. She said the campaign has already begun in areas Mbale, Tororo, Gulu, Mbarara, Jinja and Kampala.  
 
 
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Nalunkuuma explains that passengers need to always report accident cases to police and use the police report to approach insurance companies that would have insured the vehicle involved in the accident. She adds that receipts for medication in case of an injury should also be kept to be used when claiming compensation from the insurer.
 
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She however said the one million shillings paid to the accident victims has always raised complaints from the claimants who argue that the amount is very little especially in situations where many passengers are involved.
 
Nonetheless, Nalunkuuma said the Authority was in the process of revising the amount.