car accident injury claims

In South Africa, car accident injury claims can’t be brought directly against the party or parties responsible for the injuries you sustained. In other words, you can’t sue another driver for damages.

Instead, you can claim compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF), which is a state-supported insurance fund.

Are you entitled to claim from the RAF?

You can claim compensation for damages you sustain as a direct result of a road accident, provided you weren’t solely responsible for the accident.

You can claim if you were involved in an accident as a car or motorcycle driver, or as a vehicle passenger, a pedestrian or a cyclist,

What you need to support a car accident injury claim

To support a successful claim, you’ll need to provide details of the vehicles and parties involved in the road accident that caused your injury, a description of the accident and a police report.

It’s also useful to provide photographs of the accident scene and names and contact details of any witnesses.

Depending on the types of compensation – or “heads of damage” – you claim, you’ll also need to provide:

  • proof of medical expenses and evidence supporting the likely cost of future medical treatment and care, if claiming medical costs
  • details of loss of income and/or support, if claiming for these
  • proof of the extent of your injuries, in the form of a Serious Injury Assessment Report compiled by a medical professional, if claiming general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life.

Note that time limits apply to RAF claims.

Certain exceptions apply – but if the driver responsible for the accident is identified, your claim must generally be submitted within three years of the date of the accident.

In the case of a “hit-and-run” accident, your claim must generally be submitted within two years of the accident.

How much can you claim?

No cap currently applies to the total RAF compensation that may be awarded for medical expenses. However, a recently published RAF medical tariff outlines the maximum fees that the RAF will pay for a wide range of medical treatments and services. These fees will be revised periodically.

Along with covering medical costs that have already been incurred, the RAF may cover predicted future costs. Compensation for these costs is based on expert medical testimony about the need for future treatment and on-going care.

General damages are awarded only in cases involving injuries that qualify as serious. Currently, no specific cap applies.

Car accident injury claims for loss of earnings and loss of support are capped at a value set in 2008, which is adjusted on a quarterly basis for inflation.

As of October 2022, the cap on loss of income and loss of support claims was set at R336,308 a year. New, adjusted limits are published in Government Gazette notices and may be available from the RAF media centre.

Should you hire an attorney to assist with your claim?

As a claimant, you have a much better chance of securing a fair, timely settlement if you have advice and guidance from a properly qualified attorney.

An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities involved in making a claim, and, potentially, make a real difference to the amount of compensation you receive.

The RAF is currently engaged in an active campaign to solicit so-called “direct claims”. In other words, they want to exclude attorneys from the claims process. This is hugely problematic.

Not only will you not receive unbiased advice and assistance, but in many instances the RAF will allow your claim to prescribe or will offer you inadequate compensation. Once you’ve accepted an offer, however low, you have no further recourse against the RAF for proper compensation.


Why choose DSC Attorneys

DSC Attorneys is a Cape Town law firm that specialises in personal injury claims, with a focus specifically on road accident claims. All attorneys at the firm are highly experienced in personal injury law and offer many years of combined experience in handling RAF claims.

We work on a no win, no fee basis. Contact us for more information or to discuss your car accident injury claim, and we’ll be pleased to assist.

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