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ROAD ACCIDENT FUND CLAIMS

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“This article is for the purpose of answering some of the most frequently asked questions in relation to Road Accident Fund Claims. We hope that our readers find it helpful.”

 

Candice Pillay

Attorney | Director

 
 
Will I qualify to submit a claim against the RAF?

You are able to submit a claim against the Road Accident Fund if:-

 
You have suffered damages arising from bodily injuries in a motor vehicle collision caused by the negligence of the driver/ owner of a motor vehicle within the Republic of South Africa;
 
You have suffered damages arising from the death of the breadwinner of your family, who died as a result of a motor vehicle collision caused by the negligence of the driver/ owner of a motor vehicle within the Republic of South Africa;
 
You, being a close family member paid for the Funeral Costs of the deceased (you will only recover the necessary Funeral Costs).
 
Pedestrians, Passengers, Drivers and dependents of a deceased are therefore able to submit a claim against the Road Accident Fund.
 
Remember then that the condition is that the collision must have been caused as a result of the negligence of the driver/owner of a motor vehicle. You will not qualify if for example you lost control of your vehicle because you attempted to avoid an animal on the road, or after hitting a water puddle. 

 

 
What can I claim for? 

 

Past Hospital and Medical Related Expenses
 
Future Hospital and Medical Related Expenses
 
Past Loss of Earnings
 
Future Loss of Earnings
 
General Damages (Pain and Suffering – subject to a qualification of a 30% Whole Person Impairment or on the
narrative test)
 
 
 In the case of the death of a third party/ the breadwinner of the family: –
 
–  The dependents of the deceased may claim for the Past and Future Loss of Support;

 

 

How long do I have to submit a claim?
 

 

2 years from the date of the accident/ death of the deceased for unidentified claims
 
3 years from the date of the accident/ death of the deceased for identified claims
 
5 years from the date of the accident/ death of the deceased for the issue of summons
 
In the case of minors where the identity of the negligent driver/ owner is known, then prescription will only begin to run as at the date upon which they attain the age of majority (18 years old)
 

 

What do you mean by “my injuries need to be serious”?
 

The Amendment Act introduced a further element in claiming compensation and that is that the injury suffered must be regarded as a “serious injury”- this means that you are rated as having a 30% WPI and if found not to qualify in terms of the WPI, you are qualified in terms of 5.1 – 5.4 the narrative test.

 

The narrative test comprises of the following: –

 

       Serious long-term impairment or the loss of a body function;

       Permanent, severe disfigurement;

       a severe long-term mental or severe behavioural disturbance or disorder;

       the loss of a foetus/ unborn child.

 Your attorney will refer you for assessment to a specialised doctor who will assess you in terms of the AMA Guidelines and determine whether or not the injury will qualify.

The Minister has however published a list of injuries which are regarded as non-serious, provided that there are no serious complications. Some examples are soft tissue injuries, bruising, superficial lacerations, whiplash injury, fracture of any toe on either foot, fracture of any finger of either hand and loss of teeth/tooth. The list is not exhaustive.

An experienced attorney will be able to advise you at an early stage (initial consult/ after receipt of all medical and hospital records) whether or not you have a reasonable chance of qualifying. For eg: Paraplegics, Quadriplegics, Severe Brain injuries will qualify. Most often than not, complicated orthopaedic injuries qualify.

If you are unsure, please set up a consultation and we will be glad to assist.

 
 
How much will I pay in fees?
 

Our fees are based on a no win, no pay policy in terms of a contingency fee agreement.

 
 

BUT IF I GO TO THE FUND DIRECTLY, ITS FREE…….

 

Yes, it is. The decision is ultimately up to the client but how will you know that you are being fairly compensated. An experienced third-party attorney will provide you with the guidance at every step of the way, and you can be assured that the attorney is and will not be conflicted.

How much will I receive?

 

We get asked this question almost 95% of the time during our initial consultations. Naturally, clients want to know whether the long and tedious process is worth it.

We unfortunately cannot give you a definite answer as fair compensation depends on a host of factors and is usually considered at the tail end after receipt of the various expert reports. 

RELIEF FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING THE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

 

Unfortunately for victims of domestic abuse, the national lockdown declared by our president Cyril Ramaphosa leaves these victims in a state of entrapment with their abusers. With our everyday movements being under the watchful eyes of SANDF and SAPS members these victims have little to no option to seek refuge in places of safety.

 

Taking into account this stark unintended reality, the regulations specifically promulgated to deal with the COVID 19 crisis declares the operations of the Domestic Violence Courts as essential services thus these courts remain in full operation. The government has further implemented several contact centres whereby victims can seek the necessary assistance.

 

We encourage victims or people who know of someone who might be, to contact the numbers which are listed below. Seek relief in the form of a protection order which can be obtained via the Domestic Violence Courts closest to the area of the victim.  It will be useful to take photographs as evidence of the abuse and to keep a log of the threats and actions taken by the abuser.

 

It is important to continually seek counselling and legal assistance where necessary.

 

Gender Based Violence Command Centre
 
Call 0800 428 428
 
Send a “Please Call Me” by dialing *120*7867#
 
SMS ‘help’ to 31531
 
‘Helpme GBV’ via skype

 

 

LifeLine’s Domestic Violence helpline

Call 0800 150 150

 

 
National Shelter Movement of SA

Eastern Cape: Chrislynn Moonieyan/Masimanyane shelter,

081 247 6056,

Free State: Sarah Lekale, 072 144 7171

Gauteng: Rudo Muhasa, 083 684 7737/

KwaZulu-Natal: Sabera Timol, 072 446 3337

Mpumalanga: Fisani Mahlangu, 079 310 9633

North West: Rina van der Berg, 072 348 6526

Northern Cape: Clair Adriaanse/Rose Bailey, 080 021 2321

or 073 888 8738

Western Cape: Bernadine Bachar, 082 903 8739 or

Joy Lange on 071 906 3949

General information: Zubeda Dangor, 083 289 9818

 

 

Should you require our assistance or require further information you can reach us on

 

EMAIL: rebbecca@pmlegal.co.za

CELL: 0711961335

 

 

 

Revenge Pornography

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“Revenge Porn” – What the Law says about it

 

Recent amendments to the Films and Publications Act signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa now sees to the criminalisation of the circulation and distribution of sexually explicit images or videos without an individual’s consent.

 

 

 

What exactly is “Revenge Porn”?

 

 

 

-The sharing or distribution of any naked, nude or sexually explicit material (including but not limited to video content and pictures) of another person without their permission or consent.

 

-The intention of the “distributer” would be to cause harm to, regrade or humiliate the victim.

 

-The circulation, sharing or distribution is used by the perpetrator as a means of exacting revenge on the victim.

 

 

 

What does the amendments to the Law mean for Victims?

 

 

 

*Victims may now lay criminal charges against anyone who circulates, distributes and shares this content on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and the like or via any electronic communication.

 

 

 

*Perpetrators found guilty of sharing or distributing revenge porn may be sentenced to serve jail time or may be fined.

 

 

 

* If the victim is unidentifiable in the content in question the perpetrator could either be sentenced to two years in prison and/or pay a fine of up to R150 000.

 

 

 

*If the victim is identifiable in the content in question, the perpetrator could either be sentenced to four years in prison and/or pay a fine up to R300 000.

 

 

 

If you have been a victim of this vile crime, give us a call to help you take back your dignity.

 

 

 

From the desk of PM Law Incorporated

 

031 464 0283

 

Info@pmlegal.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

National Wills Week 16 – 20 Sep 2019

According to the Law Society of South Africa the aim of the National Wills Week campaign is to position attorneys as the premier providers of wills and estates services to the public, and to improve the image of the profession generally; as well as to encourage members of the public who would not normally make use of the services of an attorney, or who may hesitate to approach an attorney, to consult an attorney to have a basic will drafted. 

As our way of giving back we would like to offer complimentary Wills to those in need of one.

Having a Will is the best thing you can do to take care of the well being of your family, by ensuring that your estate is divided according to what you know is best.

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Divorce Proceedings in South Africa

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A summary on how the Divorce Process works in South Africa

 

The divorce process in South Africa is fairly straightforward.  The two courts that deal with divorce matters in South Africa is the High Court and Regional Court of the Magistrate Court however most divorces are usually lodged in the High Court.  Although the process is seemingly straightforward the emotional and monetary consequences suffered by the families involved should never be underestimated.

 

The length of the entire process is dependent on whether the parties are willing to resolve the matter amicably or whether settlement between parties is not achievable.

 

A divorce proceeding is instituted by the issuing of a summons either in the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court or in the High Court. A court has jurisdiction in a divorce proceeding if one or both parties are:

 

-domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted; or

-ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted.

 

There are two types of divorces:

-The uncontested divorce; and

-The contested divorce

 

The differences are highlighted further in this article.

 

How does the process begin?

 

Ideally in order to hasten the process parties should consider settling the matter by way of settlement agreement. It is advisable for both parties to discuss the terms of settlement during a formal meeting having their legal representatives present or they may both consult with the same attorney, who will be neutral and impartial.  The settlement agreement must deal with the matter of the division of the estate and assets and arrangements with regards to any children born or adopted during the marriage.

 

The settlement agreement can then be drafted and the formal process can begin. This will be what is known as an uncontested divorce which is by far the most cost effective and quicker solution.

 

If a divorce is contested, whereby the parties cannot reach settlement the matter will need to go to trial for the court to adjudicate on the matter.  This may take years depending on the availability of court dates.

 

The summons is then drafted and issued at court. The issued summons must be served personally on the defendant by the sheriff of the court.  The summons will state the number of days in which the defendant has to file a notice of intention to defend which is usually 10 days depending on where the parties live.  The notice of intention to defend will not be filed when the divorce is uncontested and parties have signed a settlement agreement.   If however the parties did not reach settlement and the defendant wishes to oppose the matter he/she must file the notice of intention to defend within the stated time frame.

 

Where the matter is uncontested or where no settlement has been reached and the defendant fails to file a notice of intention to defend within the allotted time the plaintiff can approach the court to enrol the divorce on the court roll. The latter is referred to as a default divorce.  Only the plaintiff will be required to appear in court after which the divorce order will be granted.

 

Should the defendant file a notice of intention to defend within the allotted time then the matter will be set down for trial to be heard.  Both parties must be present with their legal representative to submit their evidence and present their argument. The contested divorce process consists of various stages and is a lengthy process.

 

The most suitable and cost-effective option is the uncontested divorce. The parties work together to agree on the terms of the divorce. The parties will agree prior to the divorce on how to divide their assets and, if there are children involved, on issues such as care and primary residence.

 

Should you require further information or assistance regarding divorce proceedings, feel free to contact us!

 

PM LAW INCORPORATED

www.pmlegal.co.za

info@pmlegal.co.za

(031) 464 0283/88