Increase urged in bus accident payout
The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) on Thursday urged the government to increase compensation to passengers injured in public bus accidents.
- Published: 11/04/2013 at 08:06 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The institute made the suggestion in a report entitled “Public Transport Bus Accidents: Effects, Insurance and Compensation”. The report was jointly compiled by TDRI and two non-government organisations, the Foundation for Consumers and the Academic Centre for Road Safety.
The researchers interviewed 142 injured public bus passengers nationwide who are seeking compensation through the Consumers Foundation and Transport Co, a state enterprise under the Transport Ministry, and discovered they both had to handle expenses during and after hospitalisation, said TDRI researcher Sumet Ongkittikul
Fifty-four per cent of the injured passengers spent more than a month being treated in hospital before returning to work. The monetary compensation given to them was not enough for the actual hospital treatment costs.
Damage claims took a long time to process, especially for those seeking help from the Consumers Foundation whose cases were usually resolved through compromise and settlement in court.
Most of the victims seeking compensation from the Transport Co settled their cases outside court.
The average time spent in negotiation and damage claim procedures was 19 months. The findings indicated that the foundation was slow in the verification stage while Transport Co lacked understanding of consumer rights protection and tended to resolve complaints quickly regardless of unfair treatment for the complainants.
The compensation given to passengers in public bus accidents by insurance systems under the Road Accident Victim Protection Act was found to be too low, with an injured person being paid 50,000 baht. In case of disability or death, a passenger or relatives would receive up to 200,000 baht for hospital fees and compensation expenses.
The compensation was acceptable for general injuries to passengers of public buses only, but not for serious cases in which medical expenses could be more than 500,000 baht, Mr Sumet said.
The wage-loss compensation was, however, suitable.
Problems related to delays in verification needed to be resolved. Travel expenses for which complainants had to pay but did not have receipts in order to follow up their cases with concerned agencies should also be included in the compensation.
The study found a lack of cooperation among insurance companies, licensed public bus operators and concessionaires of public bus services. More stringent measures are needed to direct operators to ensure safe and quality services such as the issuing or extension of licences based on accident rates. The insurance firms would also need to offer premium rates that better benefit passengers in public vehicle accidents and truly reflect the risk of each bus operator.
The TDRI will propose the results of the study to concerned agencies including the Land Transport Department which oversees bus operations, Mr Sumet said.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters