x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE's deadliest crash: Lorry driver ordered to pay Dh4.2m in blood money to families

Lorry driver must pay millions in compensation to families of men killed in Al Ain bus crash, court says.

The February 3 accident on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi truck road killed 19 Bangladeshis, an Indian and an Egyptian, who were travelling from their housing to their workplace. ??Courtesy Al Ain Police
The February 3 accident on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi truck road killed 19 Bangladeshis, an Indian and an Egyptian, who were travelling from their housing to their workplace. ??Courtesy Al Ain Police
AL AIN // A lorry driver involved in a road crash in which 21 people died has been ordered to pay Dh4.2 million in blood money, fined Dh52,000 and sentenced to a year in prison.
He was found guilty of manslaughter, causing unintended harm and tailgating. Judge Shafie Khater Al Nil Khater ordered him to pay blood money of Dh200,000 to the family of each of the people killed and fined him Dh50,000 for the manslaughter charges, Dh1,000 for driving an overloaded vehicle and Dh1,000 for breaking the speed limit.
The verdict, revealed in records from the Al Ain Criminal Court, has been upheld by the Appeals Court, which noted that the driver failed to provide any evidence against the charges.
"Because the causality exists between the fault and the defendants' injury and death, and because the appellant has admitted to the charge and failed to provide any evidence against the charge, the Appeals Court has upheld the ruling," a court document said.
The Appeals Court concluded that on February 4 the driver's lorry exceeded the legal load limit and he did not maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead of him.
This caused the lorry to skid and veer right causing it to hit the left side of the bus that was carrying 45 workers from their housing to their workplace. Both vehicles overturned down the slope on the side of the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi lorry road.
The crash killed 19 Bangladeshis, an Indian and an Egyptian.
Dr Ibrahim Al Mulla, of law firm Advocate and Legal, is in the process of obtaining paperwork from 24 survivors of the crash to proceed with a civil suit.
V Anuradha, an affiliate of the firm, said: "We are going to proceed with the civil cases. This is only a punishment given out by the court to the driver against a case filed by the Al Ain traffic police."
Ms Anuradha said a Pakistani who lost his memory after the accident will return to the UAE for a medical examination to determine the level of disability sustained.
"We will file a case to ensure him more compensation money," she said. "If the insurance company is not in a position to pay then the company will be liable to pay and it'll be decided by the court."
She said the criminal court case has now concluded and "we are going to start the civil case".
Latiful Haq Kazmi, labour counsellor at the Bangladesh embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the embassy was set to file a compensation case next week on behalf of eight men who died in the crash.
The embassy wants to begin the case as soon as possible and will add plaintiffs as documentation arrives from Bangladesh.

anwar@thenational.ae