Road Accident Fund
Personal injury and death are compensated by the Road Accident Fund from accidents resulting from motor vehicle collisions on roads. Private roads and driveways are not included.
Drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians are covered by the Road Accident Fund.
Legislation has produced the organ body called the Road Accident Fund which had previously been the task of the diverse insurance companies to compensate the injured. The Road Accident Funds derives their funds from the fuel levies that all motorists and motor cyclists pay.
All claims rest on two pillars, namely negligence and injuries or death that result from the accident. Negligence has to be first established and admitted and thereafter the amount can be for full liability or apportioned by contributory factor of negligence. Once negligence is established then quantification will follow depending on the injuries suffered. Attorneys, judges, magistrates and the Road accident Funds are guided by previous case law and awards made in respect of previous injuries.
The new Road Accident Fund act has replaced the RAF1 form with a Form 1 .It has removed the categories in respect of persons where compensation was limited and now the Road accident fund compensates all parties without specific limits. There is due regard given to the seriousness and severity of injuries and percentages are taken into account. In severe injuries, a medical report called RAF4 has to be completed by a specialised treating doctor. This RAF4 form is compulsory with the lodgement.
The lodgement and prescription periods are the same namely that hit and run accidents are to be lodged within 2 years and claims arising from loss of support and personal injury to be lodged within 3 years. Summons must be issued and serve within the 5 year period from the date of the accident. The small claims for emotional shock and whiplashes are now disregarded. All injuries have to be seriously motivated.
When a person has an accident, they must ensure that they attend to the following:
- that an accident report be completed by the police ;
- that they must see a doctor or go to a hospital for their injuries on the same day;
- that the accident report number and the hospital number be given to their instructing attorney ;
- all receipts and payments be kept on record
- a diary of events to be recorded
- take photographs of injuries, of damaged vehicle and of the scene of accident.
Your instructing attorney will collate all documentation necessary for lodgement. The Road Accident Fund will investigate the claim and thereafter, the Fund will revert with a settlement offer or a repudiation of the claim. The settlement offer can be accepted or rejected and if rejected, then summons will be issued and a trial will commence. If claim is repudiated, then summons will be instituted and the trial process commences.
It is a long and frustrating process and patience needs to be exercised at all times.