Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to your questions about Road Accident Fund (“RAF”) claims.
Who is entitled to make a claim?
The following are entitled to make a claim
- A person who sustained a bodily injury in the accident (except a driver who was the sole cause of the accident)
- A dependent of a deceased breadwinner.
- A close relative of the deceased who paid for the funeral.
- A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent, legal guardian or curator ad litem.
Do I have a claim?
- You need to satisfy 2 requirements to have a claim against the RAF:
- You were injured in an accident, however minor that injury may be;
- You were not to blame for the accident.
The first requirement is to show you have been injured in an accident and had medical treatment subsequent to the accident.
The second requirement is where problems with RAF claims often arise. The “no blame” requirement is a complex one in law and this is why it is often in your interests to utilise the services of an attorney for RAF claims.
It is worth noting that if you are slightly to blame for the accident, you will still have a claim, as South African law recognises the apportionment of blame principle (e.g. if a Court determines that both you and the other party are equally to blame, then you will have a 50% claim; i.e. if you claim is worth R 100 000 then you will receive an amount of R 50 000 (50% of the claim value).
What can I claim for?
- There are many claims that one can make against the RAF if they meet the prescribed requirements; some of the more common ones are:
- General Damages (or what is commonly known as claims for pain and suffering)
This is an amount of money that you are given for the pain and suffering that you have gone through and it is based on case law handed down by Court in the past (simply put, you would generally receive an amount similar to that which somebody else received in the past for a similar injury).
- Loss of Income
This is the future income you are not able to earn as a result of your injuries; it is dependent on your injuries and the job you did prior to your injuries.
- Past Medical Expenses
You have a claim for past medical expenses and that is normally quite simple, keep a record of all of your accounts that are related to the accident and your attorney claims them back from the Road Accident Fund.
- Future Medical Expenses
A claim for future medical expenses can be complex; to determine the extent of your claim your attorney will refer you to several specialists who will prepare “medico-legal” reports; the specialists will anticipate what sort of treatment you will need in the future (including psychotherapy, physiotherapy, surgery).
What is the time period in which to submit a claim?
- Identified claims (claims where the identity of the driver or owner of the guilty motor vehicle is known) must be lodged with the Fund within 3 years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within 5 years from the date of accident;
- Hit and Run claims (claims where the identity of the driver or owner of the guilty motor vehicle is unknown) must be lodged with the Fund within 2 years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within 5 years from the date of accident;
- Claims in terms of an undertaking certificate issued in terms of section 17(4)(a)(ii) of the Act must be lodged and finalised within 5 years from the date on which services were rendered to the injured.
Do I need a Lawyer?
The simple answer is “no”, but you may well come to regret not using a lawyer.
It really does require the assistance of an attorney to help maximize your claim as it has happened that the Road Accident Fund offers R40 000 for a brain injury claims and the case was ultimately settled for over R1 million with the help of a lawyer!
It is important to know your rights and the limits of the RAF; a lawyer is best equipped to guide you.
As you can imagine, it is all rather complex, and while some people try to save money in the form of legal costs, by claiming against the Road Accident Fund themselves, they normally do themselves an extreme disservice.
If you are still not sure whether you have a valid claim, please contact us on either 0861 88 88 35; firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Contact Us page and we will see if we can help you or point you in the right direction.
- In many cases with Road Accident Fund claims we are able to offer our services on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis (contingency fees agreement).
We also offer our services on a regular hourly fee basis; however, if you qualify for our contingency fee services and choose an hourly rate service instead we will need to obtain upfront “Trust Retainers” (deposits) from you along the way and you will be charged for our attendances regardless of the success of your claim. Our Trust Retainers are used to cover our fees and disbursements and the amount varies depending on the complexity of the matter.
*Terms and conditions apply.
How much can I claim?
The amount you could claim varies depending on many circumstances.
For example, your claim would be affected if you were a passenger in an accident involving only one vehicle as opposed to several vehicles; if there was only one vehicle your claim may be limited to only R 25,000 against the RAF regardless of blame.
The whiplash injury is probably the most common type of claim and there the awards for General Damages generally ranges from about R20 000 to R100 000.
The amount is determined by the nature of the injury, how severe it is, the treatment you have had, and the effect it had on your life.
Loss of income can be a very large claim but, again, depends on the injury you suffer and what your job beforehand.
For example, an injury that results in the loss of a foot, while tragic, would have a vastly different effect on the career of an office worker (that mainly works at a desk) versus that of a construction worker. The office worker should be able to continue working mostly unaffected, while the construction worker may never be able to work in that field again.
A lawyer would assist in properly assessing the degree of the loss of income; perhaps the injured person is now 65% less effective, which also affects the claim. Through obtaining “medico-legal” reports from specialist and experts (e.g. occupational therapists, industrial psychologists, orthopedic surgeons, and neurosurgeons) your lawyer will be able to ascertain the extent of the loss suffered.
Additional factors would be the injured person’s life and lifestyle.
There are too many factors to expand upon here so please contact us at the details mentioned at the bottom of this page for more information.
Will the Road Accident Fund pay for costs that my medical aid has paid and/or part paid?
Yes, you can furnish authorization to the Fund to make payment of the costs directly to your medical aid or you can arrange with your medical to pay them back once the Fund has made payment to you.
If the road accident victim is deceased following the accident, what additional documents must be submitted?
- Identity document of the deceased;
- Death certificate or post mortem report;
- Documentary proof of marriage (if the claim is by a spouse);
- Full unabridged birth certificates reflecting the names of parents;
- Proof of earnings of all parties involved;
- Proof of reasonable funeral expenses.
Do I need to open a specific bank account to receive payment from my claim?
If you already have a savings, transmission or cheque account you do not have to open another account.
If it is the first time that you are claiming from the RAF a bank indemnity form must be completed and taken to the bank to verify the bank account detail. The original form will then be returned to the Funds offices as indicated on the form.
You can authorisation payment into another person’s bank account on condition that the person also provides his/her written agreement that the money can be paid into the account. The bank indemnity form is still required with his/her details.
What are the steps taken from the time GCM Legal lodges my claim until its finalisation?
After we submit your claim, the RAF must obtain documentation and information from the insured driver, witnesses and the SAP confirming the description of the accident as given by you. It can happen that the RAF must appoint an assessor in order to trace the insured driver or any witnesses.
Once the merits have been confirmed the RAF must make a decision whether it can pay the claim or whether the claim must be repudiated.
If the RAF decides to pay out a claim, it must conduct a quantum investigation to ascertain the correct amounts to be paid. This involves verifying amounts claimed as for treatment given by hospitals, doctors etc. At this stage experts such as actuaries, medical specialists etc. can be appointed to assist in making valid quantum decisions.
If all information is available a claims handler will make an offer to us, which we will then present to you.
If the offer is not accepted, negotiation can take place, which can lead to further experts being appointed. It can also lead to a court having to make a decision in the event of the parties not being able to reach an agreement.
If the offer is accepted a discharge form will be issued which contains the amounts to which the parties agreed. Once the RAF has received the signed discharge form, payment can be made, which currently takes about 4 months.
We are ready to help you make your claim against the RAF. Talk to us using the below details: