A fund to provide financial assistance to victims of ‘hit-and-run driving’ cases is in the process of being launched in the Sultanate.
According to a top official with the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the decision to raise the Guarantee Fund is part of the Motor Vehicle Law issued in the Sultanate through a Royal Decree. “Regulations regarding the fund have already been formulated and sent to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for ratification”, said Qais Saeed Saleem Al Suhai, Acting Director for Audit and Financial Affairs at CMA. The Guarantee Fund, to be managed by CMA, is being set up to close the last gaps in the insurance law and to save road accident victims from those hardships against which they are least able to protect themselves, he said.
A committee under the supervision of the market regulator, will be authorised to receive, manage and settle the claims from accident victims, who are denied insurance coverage mainly due to the failure to establish the identity of the vehicle and its driver involved, he said. “With the establishment of the fund, those injured in accidents like hit and run by unknown persons or unidentified vehicles, will be able to get financial assistance for the physical damage they suffered”, Al Suhai told the Observer in an interview. While clarifying that the fund, is not an insurance cover, he said its formation was already decreed by a Royal directive.
According to Article 8 of the Motor Vehicle Law, the Executive President of the CMA, upon approval of the Council of Ministers, may issue a decision creating a guarantee fund to assist badly injured persons who die because of the road accidents, in the vehicle that caused the accident is not identified.
Regarding the source of funding, he said that this will be done in cooperation with insurance companies operating in the Sultanate and motor insurance policy holders.
“A percentage amount will be raised from each motor insurance policy and transferred to the fund”, he said.
Stressing that the fund is being established to extend assistance only to physical injuries sustained by human beings in accidents, Al Suhai said that false claims, if found, will be dealt with legally.
“This is a fund by the people and for the people who are suffering from injuries received in road accidents”, he emphasised.
In the so-called cases of hit-and-run driving, to avoid any excessive or even abusive use of the fund, material damage caused to motor vehicles is compensated for only if considerable bodily injury has been caused at the same time.
The committee will scrutinise the applications and any mischief is detected, the person concerned will be charged with cases of fraud and will initiate legal proceedings against the guilty, he said.
The need for such a fund is the result of the Sultanate’s humane approach towards the needy, he added.
Similarly, he said that in the case of the driver who caused the accident, being apprehended later, he/she will be subjected to trial to retrieve the amount given to the victim from the fund. Also if the erring driver is found to be not holding a valid driving licence, he will be liable to take expenses for the treatment needs of the victim.