• Car caught fire because of manufacturing and destroyed completely

Hello Sir,
 I have bought a car TATA Zest from TATA Motors on March 2015. As per the company guidelines I have serviced the vehicle after 3 months. I have not made any modification/alteration to the vehicle. Vehicle was in same condition as I bought.It had covered a distance of approximately 4000KMs. On 23rd January 2016 , I was traveling with my wife , my son and my friend and his wife to my hometown.We have hardly traveled 25KMs , we smelt something burning , we thought its from outside , same moment 2 guys came from the opposite direction alerted us of fire in the engine bay. We immediately got down from the car. Within few minutes fire as completely engulfed the car. Some passerby called the fire service , but before they reached the spot car was completely burnt. TATA motos say there were not able to conclude on the root cause of the problem. But its clear that they have sold me a car with manufacturing defect. Had not those 2 guys alerted us we would have lost our lives. We would not have got time to get out of the car. We have undergone severe mental trauma after this incident. I have lost my valuable time, money and effort running behind all the departments to complete the formalities police , insurance , fire station etc. I want to get justice now for whatever I have lost and suffered. Please advice.

Regards,
Harish
Asked 9 months ago in Civil Law from Bangalore, Karnataka
You can  claim total loss of the vehicle by insurance company. When the insurance claim is preferred then the Insurance Company has appointed a Surveyor.  Surveyor inspected the car and Surveyor found that car was totally burnt and on his record basis you can get claim in total loss basis

The same time if you think the accident happen due to manufacturing complaint then you can approach the consumer court for getting damages,mental agony and total lost. But you have also include the insurance company in the defendant array if they are not paid your claims with in time. 
Ajay N S
Advocate, Ernakulam
1918 Answers
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One if the vehicle was insured then the insurance company is liable to reimburse the cost completely, on top of this you can file a consumer complaint against TATA MOTORS alleging deficiency in service, because they sold a defective goods/product to you claiming it to be good and in top condition.
Claim for compensation and damages towards unfair trade practices, inferior product, mental pain and suffering.
Contact a good consumer advocate and initiate this process at the earliest.
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
766 Answers
52 Consultations
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Cost of the Car, plus damages to the tune of around 10-15 lakhs, yourself, your minor son and your wife, friend and his wife were travelling in the car at the time of the incident, if the two wheeler riders had not warned you in time many lives could have just been destroyed for no fault of yours. 
Riding another car in the future would be a nightmare as images of your old car catching fire will keep coming back to you time and again.
Even today the company, TATA Motors is unable to find answers or fault as what caused the fire in the car?, how irresponsible can this company be and why should they be allowed to get away scot free?
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
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1) you must have comprehensive car insurance which would cover fire accidents 

2) if the insurance company fails to pay for damage to car on account of fire accident file complaint before consumer forum against insurance company and manufacturer and seek recovery of Amount paid by you for purchase of car 

3) also seek compensation for mental torture undergone by you 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23386 Answers
1229 Consultations
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As per National consumer forums decisions indicate that you can make a valid claim to Insurance company . If they are not giving the amount you can add  the manufacturing company and take a contention that it had been happen only due to Manufacturing defect. Before that you have to check the Fire caught due to  Manufacturing defect. with the help of an expert. 
Ajay N S
Advocate, Ernakulam
1918 Answers
19 Consultations
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Was the vehicle was towed to the workshop after the fire? You must get a technical reply from the workshop and if you have a case you must first write to Tata direct to seek the refund of the consideration which you had paid for the car. The doors of consumer forum are open for you to file a claim petition for refund of sale consideration and also heavy compensation for sale of a defective product which put your lives in peril.  
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
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450 Consultations
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I have lost my valuable time, money and effort running behind all the departments to complete the formalities police , insurance , fire station etc. I want to get justice now for whatever I have lost and suffered. Please advice.

You can issue legal notice to the company stating that they have sold the defective product and there was no response from the company even after several reminders sent to them.  They have to replace the car as well as compensate suitably for the mental trauma you suffered.Subsequently you can drag the company to the consumer forum seeking redressal of the grievance and also compensation suffered due to physical and mental loss. 
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
14166 Answers
128 Consultations
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Thanks for the advice. I have already started the insurance claim process. As per the update from the insurance company i will be getting the full IDV value within 2-3 days. As I have the car loan they will be sending the DD to the bank.
Could you please let me know what I can claim(amount) from the company for selling a car with manufacturing defect?
My reply to your earlier post was besides insurance claim.  You may follow the procedure as advised in my earlier post.
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
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Yes. In addition to you getting the Car value, you can also claim for Non-Economic damages from the manufacturer. There can be no limit for Non-Economic damages, but indian courts normally award depending the nature of damages claimed. 
Non Economic damages include Mental anguish (includes distress, anxiety, fright, depression, grief, or trauma), pain and suffering as well as emotional distress.There is no standard formula to calculate these non-economic damages; therefore they vary on a case by case basis and are referred to as subjective damages because they differ according to a plaintiff's personal or subjective experience.
Rajgopalan Sripathi
Advocate, Hyderabad
873 Answers
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