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Costs of Direct RAF Claims for Claimants without Legal Representation

Costs of Direct RAF Claims for Claimants without Legal Representation
May 26, 2022 gnuworld
direct raf claims without legal representation

There are several good reasons to use the services of an attorney when claiming from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). One reason – often initially overlooked – is the upfront costs of direct RAF claims for claimants.

The truth is that it takes funds to compile a successful claim and suitable supporting evidence.

Not everyone has the means to cover the associated costs. This could put already vulnerable road accident victims and their families at a disadvantage, making it less likely they get paid the compensation that is legally due to them.

Direct RAF claim costs versus attorney costs

If you handle a RAF claim yourself, you’ll have to cover a range of costs out of pocket – upfront, and regardless of whether or not your claim succeeds.

In contrast, many attorneys who handle RAF claims operate on a contingency fee basis.

This is often referred to as a “no win, no fee” model.

With this model, it’s unnecessary for claimants to have funds upfront – and the attorney costs apply only if a claim succeeds. They are paid out of the settlement that’s awarded.

For more details, see our article explaining lawyers’ contingency fees in South Africa.

Direct RAF claims: what you have to pay for, even if your claim is unsuccessful

In the case of a direct RAF claim – meaning a claim you make without legal assistance from an attorney – certain costs must be covered upfront.

These expenses aren’t recoverable if your claim doesn’t succeed.

Among others, they include:

  • costs involved in getting expert medical evaluations and testimony
    Typically, specialist medical testimony is key to the success of a RAF claim. Unfortunately, visits to suitably experienced medical specialists don’t come cheap. Neither does their time if reports must be completed or an in-person interview is required.
  • costs associated with obtaining supporting records
    Hospital and medical records, as well as police records, are required to support RAF claims. It can be time-consuming and potentially costly to secure these. For example, it may involve taking time off work, travelling to fetch copies and printing and scanning costs.
  • transport costs
    Claimants may have to cover transport costs to fetch supporting documents, to make it to medical appointments and, if required, to appear at an interview that forms part of a RAF investigation.

Other reasons to use an attorney instead of claiming directly

Apart from upfront costs, there are other reasons not to pursue a direct claim.

The claims process is complicated and technical. Important factors can easily get missed without the help of an expert. This can lead to a failed claim.

Also, the RAF is notorious for offering unfairly low settlement amounts – and sometimes, for rejecting valid claims.

An attorney with sufficient experience will be familiar with claims and payout amounts for cases similar to yours, and can guide you accordingly. This person can also represent your interests to the RAF and, where necessary, in court.

An attorney will also be familiar with all the requirements of the claims process, including the prescription period (or deadline) that applies for lodging the claim and when it’s appropriate to issue a summons against the RAF.

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RAF claims with DSC Attorneys

At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims. Our attorneys have extensive experience in helping road accident victims get the compensation they deserve – and we work on a no win, no fee basis.

Contact us for legal support and representation that’s effective, ethical and caring.

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