Bus Accident Claims in South Africa

Bus accident claims in South Africa can result in significant (and much-needed) compensation for crash victims and their families.

Every year, bus crashes lead to hundreds of serious injuries and a significant number of fatalities.

Making headlines in 2024, a horrific bus accident in Limpopo claimed the lives of 45 people, leaving an eight-year-old girl as the sole survivor.

This tragedy occurred just months after six schoolgirls lost their lives and 48 other pupils were injured in a bus accident in the Free State. Over the same period, another 13 people lost their lives in a bus crash in the Western Cape.

How common are bus accidents in South Africa?

A Road Traffic Management Corporation study reported that over a five-year period, buses were involved in 323 fatal crashes in South Africa. As many as 487 people died in these crashes.

The highest number of bus accidents resulting in fatalities (a total of 76 fatal crashes) occurred in Gauteng.

According to an earlier University of Pretoria study, “Analysis of crash statistics over the last few years indicated that the chance of buses getting involved in an accident is in the order of 30 per cent, the highest of all vehicle types.”

The majority of fatal bus crashes occur on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Claims for bus accident injuries

If you’re injured in a bus accident, you can claim compensation from South Africa’s Road Accident Fund (RAF) and/or other liable parties.

Victims of bus accidents may include passengers, occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians.

What compensation can be claimed?

Depending on the facts of a case, a person injured in a bus accident may be able to claim compensation for the following “heads of damage”:

  • past hospital and medical expenses
  • future hospital, medical and supplementary expenses
  • past loss of earnings
  • future loss of earnings and interference with earning capacity
  • for serious injuries, general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

In addition, a close family member of a breadwinner who has died as a result of a bus accident can claim compensation for basic funeral expenses and loss of support.

What to do following a bus accident

The first concern, of course, is to get proper medical attention – for yourself and anyone else who has been injured.

If a crash has resulted in loss of life, it’s also mandatory to call the police.

Beyond these initial priorities, it can strengthen a subsequent claim if you or someone you know is able to record evidence of what occurred.

For example, it’s useful to:

  • take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
  • gather contact details of witnesses, including others involved in the accident
  • ask police in attendance where you’ll be able to get the police report that’s filed.

It’s also vital to keep medical reports and receipts. Retain these for all treatment you receive, immediately following the accident and subsequently.

Who may be liable for injuries due to a bus accident

In South Africa, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) is required to compensate road accident victims for injuries due to accidents that weren’t solely their fault. This includes compensation for people injured in bus accidents.

Depending on the nature of a case, various parties other than the RAF may also be liable.

For example, liable parties could include:

  • a private bus company
  • a public transportation agency
  • the local government entity responsible for road safety and maintenance, if a pothole or other known road hazard caused the accident
  • the bus manufacturer, in the case of a known mechanical defect.


How DSC Attorneys can assist with bus accident claims

Road accident claims in South Africa are complex and time-consuming, and must follow specific legal processes.

An experienced personal injury attorney who specialises in this claim type offers the best chance of a successful claim.

At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims, including claims involving bus accidents. Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. We work on a no win, no fee basis.

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