KAMPALA, UGANDA: The High Court in Kampala has ordered Uganda Funeral Services Limited (UFS) to pay Shs261m in special damages and general damages to a man who was knocked and injured by one of the company’s vehicles.
Justice Musa Ssekaana made the ruling on Thursday based on the case in which Hirani Manji Kanji claimed that a speeding car registration number UAY 513Y that belongs to UFS knocked him on December 21, 2021, while he was riding his motorcycle, registration number UEC 289N.
Through his lawyer Isaac Walukagga, Kanji tabled before the court the proof of ownership evidence of registration of the motor vehicle in the name of Uganda Funeral Services and a letter from police confirming that it was involved in an accident after a careful examination of the CCTV cameras.
Walukagga told court that UFS even after learning of the accident, decided not to disclose who the driver was and at the time of the accident yet the vehicle was being driven by one of their employees and on the wrong side of the road when it knocked Kanji in a hit-and-run.
The victim had asked Court to find UFS liable for negligence and sought compensation of 300 million Shillings saying he had been inconvenienced for a long and had spent more than 40 million Shillings on treatment.
“The Defendant’s driver run over the Plaintiff and didn’t bother to stop to take him to the hospital that was 100 meters away which is inhumane and a total disregard of the Plaintiff’s life,” Justice Ssekaana observed.
On their part, the Judge indicates that UFS did not make any specific answer to the allegations levied against them but rather made technical denials saying that the case does not disclose any cause of action.
They argued that they cannot be held liable for the actions of an employee whose particulars were not are not indicated and that Kanji also did not attach any proof of the medical facility where he went to treat the injuries he suffered.
UFS lawyer Badru Bwango also argued that he did not attach any proof of medical documents to show the injuries suffered if any and therefore his case is an abuse of the court process.
In his judgment, Justice Ssekaana said that the UFS driver was reckless on the road yet he didn’t have the right of way.
“The driver was driving on the right side of the road as opposed to the left and he drove recklessly in total disregard of other road users. He failed to brake and drove the vehicle as an ambulance whereas it was not. The Defendant’s vehicle did not have a right of way to be driven on the opposite side of the road”, said Ssekaana.
He added that the vehicle had no right of way and there was no justification to drive in the opposite direction with no siren or warnings to the other road users that expected no traffic from the opposite direction.
According to Ssekaana, he was satisfied with the video clip that was presented in court. He says that it is clear that the driver of the vehicle was on the wrong side and took no bother at all to protect other road users and after the accident immediately sped off.
“In the circumstances of this case, it is clear that the defendant (Uganda Funeral Services) tried to deny liability and avoided any contact with the plaintiff or to render any assistance in spite of the glaring evidence of the accident. They ignored or refused to give any medical care or financial support to mitigate the damage”, adds Ssekaana.
Ssekaana awarded Kanji 100 million Shillings as general damages and 161,456,000 as compensation for special damages.