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RAF Claims for Minors: What You Need to Know

RAF Claims for Minors: What You Need to Know
May 21, 2020 gnuworld
raf claims for minors

In this article, we offer information and guidelines about RAF claims for minors, including:

Who can lodge a RAF claim for minor victims?

A parent or other legally recognised guardian can lodge a claim against the RAF on behalf of a minor.

Alternatively, the minor can wait until he or she is 18 to register a claim.

An exception is a claim in the case of a hit and run accident. This claim type must be lodged within two years of the date of the accident, regardless of whether the claimant is a minor.

What can minors claim from the Road Accident Fund?

Where a minor is injured or killed in a road accident, compensation from the RAF can be claimed for:

  • all medical expenses (past and future) incurred as a result of the accident
  • general damages for pain and suffering, for serious injuries
  • future anticipated loss of earnings/earning capacity, if applicable
  • funeral expenses, in the tragic event of a minor dying due to an accident.

How much compensation can be claimed?

Medical expenses

There are no statutory limits on the amount that can be claimed for medical expenses.

Medical expenses are, however, paid in line with tariffs based on the National Health Reference Price List (NHRPL) and the Uniform Patient Fee Structure.

General damages (pain and suffering)

General expenses can be claimed only in cases where injuries are classified as serious injuries.

Future loss of earnings/earning capacity

The long-term consequences of injury may limit an individual’s capacity to earn an income or prevent the person from working at all.

Where applicable, RAF compensation can be claimed for this expected future loss of earnings.

Funeral expenses

RAF compensation for funeral expenses covers costs associated directly with burial or cremation.

The RAF doesn’t, however, cover costs of flower arrangements, printed funeral programmes, transport for family and attendees, a headstone, catering or venue hire.

Time limits for lodging RAF claims for minors

If a RAF claim isn’t lodged within the applicable time limit, it prescribes (becomes invalid). Different time limits apply, depending on whether the person responsible for causing an accident has been identified.

When the driver responsible is known

Where the party responsible for causing a road accident is known, a RAF claim for a minor must be lodged by a parent or guardian within three years of the date of the accident.

Alternatively, minors who are injured in road accidents can claim on their own behalf, once they turn 18. A minor has three years from the date of his or her 18th birthday to do this, or the claim prescribes.

When the driver responsible isn’t known

In the case of a hit-and-run accident where the party responsible is unknown, a RAF claim must be submitted on behalf of a minor claimant within two years of the accident.

Documents required for RAF claims

The following evidence is required to support RAF claims for minors:

  • hospital and medical reports
  • a police report
  • invoices relating to the accident
  • witness statements, if available
  • photographs of the damaged vehicle and the surrounding area, if available.

For a RAF claim to be successful, the following forms must also be completed and submitted in hard copy to the RAF offices:

  • RAF 1
    The RAF 1 form provides details of the minor and their parents, information about the motor vehicles and parties involved in the accident, the date and location of the accident and the monetary amounts claimed in respect of damages.
  • RAF 3
    This form provides details of the accident, as per both involved parties.
  • RAF 4
    The RAF 4 form is a serious injury assessment report by a qualified medical professional. It’s required only in respect of a claim for general damages.

What to expect once a RAF claim has been submitted

The RAF has 120 days to consider the evidence and determine the validity of a claim and the amount of damages payable.

Unfortunately, the RAF rarely, if ever, concludes a case within the prescribed period.

This allows you to instruct a lawyer to issue summons of the intention to pursue the claim in court.

Often, the RAF will make an offer of an out-of-court settlement that you can either accept or reject.

If you reject the offer, the case goes before the court, where arguments are made for and against your claim. The court will determine how much compensation to award, based on the merits of the case.

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The importance of using a qualified attorney

All RAF claims are legally complex and time-consuming.

Also, the RAF is notorious for rejecting claims, delaying payments and offering settlements well below the amounts that should be awarded. Find out more in our article about why you need an attorney for RAF claims.

An attorney specialising in RAF claims is familiar with all requirements associated with the claims process, and with the compensation amounts awarded in previous, similar cases.

The attorney can guide you in building the strongest possible claim and advise on the fairness of a settlement offer.

The attorney can expedite the claims process, issuing a summons against the RAF if necessary to escalate the matter to court.

The attorney can also help you obtain expert medical testimony and represent your interests in court, giving you the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

At DSC Attorneys, our attorneys are highly experienced in personal injury law and offer many years of combined experience in handling Road Accident Fund claims, including RAF claims for minors. Contact us for legal advice and representation that’s effective, caring and ethical.

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