If you want to claim compensation after a road accident, it’s important to know that there’s a time limit for lodging your claim.
In this article, we answer the following questions about the timing of RAF compensation claims:
- Do RAF claims expire?
- What is the time limit for claiming RAF compensation?
- What is the time limit for claiming compensation after a hit-and-run accident?
- Can you claim from the RAF after three years?
Do RAF claims expire?
Yes. RAF claims expire, or prescribe, to use the legal term.
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is responsible for compensating road accident victims and their dependents who have been injured, disabled or killed.
If you have a valid RAF claim and evidence to support it, the claim must be lodged within a certain period. This is called the prescription period.
Under South African law, the Road Accident Fund Act sets prescription periods for RAF claims. Your claim will not be valid if it’s made outside of the prescription period.
What is the time limit for claiming RAF compensation?
When the identity of the driver or owner of the vehicle that caused the accident has been established, claims against the RAF must be lodged within three years of the date of the accident.
After your claim has been validly lodged with the RAF, there’s a two-year window for instituting litigation and issuing summons against the RAF for the compensation that is due to you.
In other words, presuming valid claim lodgement, you have five years from the date of the accident to start a court action for the recovery of damages.
What is the time limit for claiming compensation after a hit-and-run accident?
In the case of a hit-and-run accident, or one where the identity of the driver or owner of a motor vehicle isn’t known and can’t be established, the claim must be lodged within two years of the date of the incident.
This applies even if the victim is a minor or mentally incapacitated.
Once a valid claim has been lodged within this two-year period, court action must be initiated – beginning with issuing a summons – within a further three years, if the claim has not been settled by the RAF.
Can you claim from the RAF after three years?
If the claimant is a minor and it is an identified claim (i.e not a hit and run), the prescription period starts once the victim reaches his or her 18th birthday. So, if a minor is a claimant, he or she can lodge a claim up until his or her 21st birthday.
Prescription may also be delayed if a person is detained as a patient under mental health legislation or a person is under curatorship.
How DSC Attorneys can help
If you or a loved-one are a victim of a road accident and wish to pursue a claim for compensation, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
Pursuing a RAF claim is a lengthy, complex process. For several reasons, it’s not a good idea to submit a RAF claim without professional legal representation.
At DSC Attorneys, we’re experts in road accident claims, with extensive experience in handling claims against the RAF.
Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team are committed to helping road accident victims in our country get the compensation they deserve, in as short a period as possible. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis.