Compulsory third-party liability (CTPL) insurance is a requirement for the annual motor vehicle registration with the Land Transportation Office. If your car or motorcycle has no CTPL, operating it on a public road is unlawful.
Cars are vehicles of great speed and power. The use of motor vehicles constitutes an element of danger to persons and property upon the highways. Even carefully operated, a car is still a dangerous instrument, but when operated by a careless or incompetent person, it becomes an engine of damage, destruction and death.
The purpose of the CTPL requirement is to protect the general public from the dangers caused by motor vehicles.
In a CTPL policy, the insurance company agrees to pay up to P100,000 to a third party for hospitalization, bodily injury and/or death in an accident caused or arising out of the use or operation of the insured car. Contrary to popular understanding, a CTPL policy does not cover loss or damage to property of third parties.
A "third party" is any person other than a passenger and also excludes a member of the household, or a member of the family within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity of a motor vehicle owner or his employee in respect of death, bodily injury or damage to property arising out of and in the course of employment. It also does not cover damages to the insured vehicle.
The insurance company will pay the amount necessary (and within the limits of the CTPL policy) to relieve the insured vehicle owner from liability, assuring the third-party victim or his heirs of financial assistance, independent of the financial capacity of the insured vehicle owner.
In simple terms, you or your heirs can claim for compensation based on a CTPL policy under the following concurring conditions:
* You are a third party to the insured car owner;
* The insured car caused you to sustain an injury or resulted in death; and
* Your injury requires hospitalization and/or results in a disability or death.
To file a claim under a CTPL insurance policy, here are some practical tips:
1. Read the fine print. Although there is a generic CTPL policy, it is important for you to read and familiarize yourself with the fine print of a CTPL policy. Not all insurance policies will contain the same fine print on limitations as to the use of the motor vehicle and the extent of liability to the public.
2. Keep calm and don't panic. After a vehicular accident, you must do the necessary first aid to the injured, and call the authorities for proper assistance, medical attention and accident investigation.
3. Be honest and consider an amicable settlement. Assuming you are aware of the extent of liability, be honest to yourself and to the other party about the cause of the accident. An amicable settlement can mean saving each other the expense and inconvenience of a protracted insurance-claim process and a possible court litigation. On the other hand, the insurance company will tell you to not simply admit any liability and not offer any settlement because the insurance company wants to make sure it can recover against the other party if proven to be at fault.
4. Call the police to conduct an independent investigation. If you cannot agree on an amicable settlement, call the police to investigate and document the incident. The police should gather the names and the contact information of the drivers, the witnesses and the victims; interview the parties; measure and photograph the scene of the accident; and note the extent of damage to the car and property.
5. Exchange information with the other party. You will have to exchange information about the names, address and contact numbers of the other party and witnesses; the name of the registered owner of the other motor vehicle, his address and his contact number; the details of the CTPL policy of the other motor vehicle.
6. Take photos of the car and the scene of the accident. You have to take photos to show the location of the cars at the scene of the accident and the extent of damage to the vehicles and property. The photos must also show the plate numbers of the cars to assist in identifying the respective vehicles. Preserve the video evidence of the incident from the dashcam of the cars involved--or of the cars passing by, or of a CCTV system, if any.
7. Get a medical examination. You need to get a medical certificate stating the extent of injury and the required treatment or medication.
8. Check with the insurance company for its claim procedure. A claim on a CTPL policy follows a general standard procedure including documentary requirements, but you must still check with the insurance company for its specific procedure, forms or requirements.
9. Gather all the documents and submit your claim. You will need to prepare an affidavit to narrate the circumstances of the incident, the extent of injury or damage, and the expenses for medical treatment and other consequential expenses. Accomplish the insurance claim form of the insurance company, if any.
Illustration by Arvin Dizon