Oya Armutçu ANKARA / Hürriyet
Rescue workers examine the wreck of car after an accident. The Court of Appeals has ruled that driving on alcohol is not enough for not receiving insurance payment.
Turkish automobile insurers will no longer be able to refuse payment to intoxicated drivers who were not at fault in accidents, according to a new ruling by the country’s Board of Appeals. Until this ruling, insurance companies could refuse payment based solely on the fact that the driver had alcohol in his/her blood.
The new ruling comes on the heels of a case brought by driver N.B. following an accident four years ago in which the insurance company failed to pay because she had been under the influence of alcohol. N.B. sued the company for payment of both the towing fees and the damages.
Lawyer Alper Sarıcı said insurance companies now have to prove that the accident in question was caused by the alcohol. It is no longer enough for insurance companies to say, “You are under the influence, we won’t pay,” he said. The Board of Appeals took into account that if a driver in the other lane swerves toward another car and crashes into it, an insurance company cannot use alcohol as an excuse not to pay the victim, he explained.
Others, however, believe that the new regulation will make it more attractive for people to drive under the influence of alcohol.
“On the one hand alcohol leads to a slowing of the reflexes, making it easier for the driver to be involved in an accident. On the other hand, if insurance companies are forced to pay for damages involving accidents where alcohol is involved, it will be less of an impediment for the public to drive under the influence,” said Ray Sigorta Executive Board Director Metin Akgün.