Metrorail is the largest provider of passenger and commuter rail services in South Africa, transporting more than 1,7 million passengers daily in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Unfortunately, operational accidents on Metrorail trains and in Metrorail stations are far from uncommon.
If you have been injured in a Metrorail-operated train or station as a result of negligence on the part of the operator or its employees, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Who to claim from
Whether your injury results from a train fire, collision, derailment or unsafe conditions in a Metrorail station, you will likely institute a claim against the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) – the owner of Metrorail. PRASA is a state-owned enterprise governed by the Department of Transport.
The claims process
You can claim from PRASA for a personal injury in the Small Claims Court without the assistance of an attorney. However, if you wish to claim more than R15 000 in damages, you’ll need to hire an attorney.
An attorney who works on a contingency basis will assist you with your claim and represent you during settlement and/or trial proceedings without charging you legal fees upfront. If you win your case, the attorney’s charges will be determined in accordance with the Contingency Fees Act.
The burden of proving fault on the part of Metrorail and its employees always lies with the claimant. So it’s important that you have sufficient evidence to support your claim. A suitably experienced attorney can assist you with the process of gathering, compiling and presenting this evidence.
Each claim is different, but evidence may take the form of witness statements, photographs or video footage of the incident and of injuries sustained, and medical reports and records. It may also include expert opinions from medical specialists.
Your attorney may consult medical experts to help verify the nature and cause of your injury, its impact on your ability to function and the medical treatment and any on-going medical care you’ll likely require in the future.
An industrial psychologist may be consulted to determine the impact that your injury will have on your ability to work in the future, and an actuary may be consulted to quantify the financial loss suffered.
This information will help determine how much you claim from Metrorail as compensation.
Notification of PRASA
By statute, PRASA must be notified of the intended action within six months of the incident. Once this has occurred, the Court process will be started, while other investigations continue concomitantly.
PRASA may offer you a payment to settle the claim out of court. It will then be up to you and your attorney to determine whether you should accept the offer or proceed to trial.
If the case goes to trial, the evidence gathered by you and your attorney will be presented to the court. The judge will decide whether you have a valid claim and, if so, how much PRASA is required to pay you as compensation.
Why you should hire a personal injury attorney
We 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.