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All You Need to Know About Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 26/05/2022

The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 or MV Act, 1988 is milestone legislation that dedicatedly governs the laws for road transport regulations, fines, punishments, and accidents and associated remedies in India. However, a list of amendments to the Act in 2019 brought in a slew of additional clauses and higher penalties. The law is divided into 2 Schedules, XIV Chapters and 216 Sections.

In this article, we will be looking at Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which deals with specifying the authorised claimants for compensation through the MACT. MACT's full form is Motor Accident Claim Tribunal which governs the motor accident claims in India.

Now, that you know the MACT full form, we should get into the details.

Importance of MV Act, 1988 for Rightful Compensation to Road Accident Victims

With the increasing number of vehicles on the Indian roads, high traffic, underdeveloped road conditions and instances of rash driving, the volume of road accidents is going up by the day. Road accidents can lead to major damage to property, serious injuries as well as death.

The MV Act, 1988 acts as the constitutional platform for providing redressal and remedies in such situations. It ensures that the interest of the innocent victims is protected, fair punishment is given to the perpetrator, and adequate compensation is provided to all aggrieved parties.

Thus, this Act not only lays down the guidelines for ensuring safer road conditions but also provides an extensive redressal mechanism if an unfortunate incident does occur.

To get the necessary compensation under the Act, the aggrieved parties need to apply to the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal. Section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act,1988 laws down the provisions regarding who can claim through MACT if they are involved in a road accident. Let us understand this Section in detail.

What is Section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988?

Under Section 166 IPC (Chapter XII) of the Motor Vehicles Act 166, an individual can be considered the rightful claimant and can claim compensation from Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal if:

  • They are someone or authorised representatives of someone who has sustained any injuries in the vehicular accident
  • They are the rightful owners of any property that sustained damages in the accident
  • They are the rightful owners of the property involved in the accident
  • They are the legal heirs/representatives of someone who passed away due to the accident

Where to Claim Compensation Under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

The claimant can file a compensation claim under Section 166 IPC at any one of the following Motor Accident Claim Tribunals:

  • The claims tribunal under whose jurisdiction the accident took place.
  • The claims tribunal under whose jurisdiction the accident causing vehicle’s owner stays.
  • The claims tribunal under whose jurisdiction the victim stays.

When to Claim Compensation Under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

The MV Act, 1988 does not lay down a specific timeframe for claiming compensation under Section 166. However, it is advised to file the claim at the earliest to avoid raising any doubts or queries during the tribunal proceedings. The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal will award the compensation to the concerned parties in the following situations:

  • The accident has led to bodily injuries to the victim
  • The accident has led to the permanent disablement of the victim (Note: Permanent disability includes loss of sight in either/both eyes, loss of hearing in either/both ears, impairment/destruction of the function of any part/joint of the body, disfigurement of the head or disfigurement of the face.)
  • The accident has led to the death of the victim
  • The accident has caused damage to or loss of the property of the victim

Detailed Procedure For Filing Compensation Under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

Suppose an owner of a car loses control of their vehicle and crashes on the pavement, injuring and killing a few people. Here there are two aspects for further action:

  • Action against the offender for the commission of a criminal offence (injury and death)
  • Procedure for compensation to the victims

The following is a basic explanation of post-accident events for compensatory claims under the Motor Vehicles Act, 166 Section:

  • If you are a victim, take pictures/videos of the accident scene as evidentiary proof. Even if you are not a victim and just a passerby, you can take the video/photo and submit it to the local police station to support their investigation.
  • If possible, call the 100 number and inform the police about the accident. The call is recorded and can be used as evidentiary proof later.
  • The local police will register an FIR either on receipt of a complaint or by suo moto cognisance. Then, they will conduct their investigation and chargesheet the accused in case of criminal offences. Post this, the judicial proceedings will begin.
  • During the judicial proceedings, proper details regarding the compensatory claims of the victims need to be put forth before the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal.


As per the MV Act, 1988, third-party compensation claims are governed by the No-Fault Liability Principle. That means irrespective of the mistake or no mistake of the owner-driver, the victim is entitled to the claim. The owner-driver of the accident-causing vehicle is liable to pay damages to the victim in case of injury, damage or death. However, the victim is not liable or required to plead or prove the negligence of the driver. As per the provisions of the Act, the fault of the accused is assumed.

What is the Amount that can be Claimed as Compensation?

Section 163A of the MV Act, 1988 lays down the following amounts for compensatory claims that the owner of the vehicle or their insurance company is liable to pay:

  • In case of the death of the victim, a minimum compensation of ₹50,000 is to be paid.
  • In case of permanent disability to the victim, a minimum of ₹25,000 is to be paid.

The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal can grant additional compensation to the victims, on a case-by-case basis, as they seem fit.


While the MV Act, 1988 lays down the necessary guidelines and remedial measures for road safety, it is the responsibility of each and every one to ensure proper and efficient implementation of the laws for safer road transport. Be aware of and follow all the necessary rules and regulations when driving on the road. If you are a victim, make sure you file a complaint with the police and get your due compensation.

Due to the nature of road transport in India, accidents are bound to happen. Therefore, it is critical to get comprehensive insurance for your car that secures the vehicle against own damage and theft, secures you with personal accident cover and covers third-party liabilities.

Tata AIG offers a comprehensive four-wheeler insurance plan with a 98% claim settlement ratio, a quick and hassle-free claims process, 7500+ network cashless garages, an online car insurance calculator, and so much more. To buy, visit our four-wheeler Insurance page today.

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