What you need to keep in mind!
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) compensates for losses suffered due to bodily injuries or death as a result of a road accident.
Anybody who suffered any injury or financial loss as a result of a road accident and caused by the negligence of someone else may have a claim.
Dependants of a deceased victim may also lodge claims for loss of support and recovery of funeral expenses.
When a claimant is a minor and or a person incapable of conducting his or her affairs, the parent, legal guardian or curator will lodge a claim on the victim’s behalf.
You can claim directly from the Road Accident Fund (RAF), but if you do it yourself this is what you need to keep in mind about so-called “direct claims”:
- There are statutory time limits that apply to your claim and if you or the fund do not comply with these statutory time limits your claim will prescribe;
- Claiming from the RAF appears to be straightforward, but in practice, it is a complex process;
- Medical records need to be obtained from hospitals and doctors medical reports (RAF 1 and RAF 4) need to be completed by doctors, and paid for;
- Documents need to be obtained from the South African Police Service, and paid for;
- An affidavit setting out the facts of how the accident took place must be prepared and lodged with your claim;
- Not equipped with the relevant know – how you will be required to quantify your claim by declaring in your claim form what you are claiming for various heads of damages such as pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disfigurement, disability and shock (general damages), loss of income, loss of earning capacity, future medical costs and past expenses (special damages);
- It is important to note that to be eligible to claim general damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disability, disfigurement and shock you are required to obtain, pay for and lodge a serious injury assessment report (RAF 4) by a suitably qualified medical expert who has assessed your injury as ‘serious’;
- A proper assessment of the quantum of your damages can only take place once your injuries have stabilised, in some cases injuries may only stabilise after a passage of time;
- Injuries need to be thoroughly investigated by appropriately qualified medical specialists, and reports obtained and paid for;
- Compensation for loss of earnings and income need to be thoroughly investigated and calculated on the correct assumptions by a qualified actuary and reports need to be obtained and paid for;
- The acceptance of settlements without independent and competent advice and in the mistaken belief that it is the best possible outcome by victims could result in inadequate compensation;
- You are allowing the RAF autonomy to determine whether they owe you anything and determine how much they owe you;
- Once a matter is finalised, the RAF must make payment of the agreed amount or amount awarded. Regrettably, the RAF may need some encouragement to pay victims, and in this situation, it is not a bad idea to have an attorney in your corner to enforce the collection of the compensation due to you.
The better option is to let Goldberg & de Villiers Incorporated assist you with your claim.
We specialise in personal injury law and have the knowledge and experience to assist you with ensuring that your claim is calculated correctly and submitted to the RAF in line with the applicable legislation.
At Goldberg & de Villiers Incorporated, we are prepared to incur and carry reasonable costs to take legal action pending finalisation of your case against the Road Accident Fund if we believe that your claim would succeed.
Our role is to represent the client by advancing the claim on behalf of the client to ensure that the client receives just and fair compensation.
For the reasons set out above the decision to claim directly may prove to be a perilous journey for injured victims and the dependants of deceased victims. Your claim could lapse, in which case you will not receive any compensation. You also run the risk of an improper assessment of your injuries or calculation of the loss suffered, which will result in inadequate compensation.
Our advice is to talk to Goldberg & de Villiers Incorporated before making a decision. Why embark on this unknown and rather complex process on your own. Put your mind at ease during the trying time and appoint one of our qualified and experienced attorneys to assist you with your claim for a better future. Goldberg & de Villiers Incorporated is an established firm with a track record of securing top awards and settlements. We specialise in RAF claims and have over 85 years of accumulated valuable know-how, expertise and skills to achieve top settlements and awards in RAF matters.
If you are a victim of a road accident or dependent of a victim/deceased and wish to submit a claim or instituting legal action against the RAF or have any concerns regarding a direct claim you have submitted to the RAF, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance on 041 5019800.