“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.”
Attorney | Director
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)
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.