Fears of high legal fees drive many people to attempt making direct claims against the Road Accident Fund (RAF). While you’re allowed to submit a claim yourself without legal representation, there’s a strong risk that your case will not get the attention it deserves.
The Legal Practice Council of South Africa does not recommend that road accident victims try to claim compensation without proper legal representation, specifically to avoid being under-compensated through hasty direct settlements.
The pitfalls of submitting RAF claims independently
It’s no secret that the RAF is inundated with claims. They aren’t in the position to give a claimant’s case the in-depth and personal attention it requires to ensure the best possible outcome. When considering a claim, the RAF will not be able to:
- fully investigate and prepare the case
- identify potential losses or roadblocks in the case
- ensure the claimant’s injuries are thoroughly investigated by qualified medical professionals
- advance the case in spite of any setbacks.
The RAF has also been known to approach potential claimants while still in hospital, hoping to secure their direct claim without the proper investigation and representation of legal counsel. Without legal representation, the claimant has no way to know if the offered compensation is adequate or not, which often leads to under compensation.
Without legal representation, there is also the risk that the direct claim won’t be finalised in time and the claim will essentially expire. Once this happens, the claim cannot be reopened.
Why legal representation is so important for RAF claims
An attorney with experience handling RAF claims will be able to explain the process to the claimant and foresee any potential complications. The attorney will also be professionally and ethically obliged to offer the claimant’s case a much higher level of attention than the RAF.
- thoroughly investigating the case
- referring the claimant for medical assessments
- obtaining hospital and police records on the claimant’s behalf
- preparing an affidavit explaining what happened
- pursuing all avenues to ensure the case is concluded with the best possible outcome.
Most attorneys in RAF claims operate on a contingency basis, which means if they don’t win your case, you don’t pay their fees. The attorneys will also cover most upfront costs related to your case, such as medical and other experts’ fees, medical records, police documents and court fees.
If the claimant tries to make the claim independently, they will be liable for these costs upfront and might not be able to recover these costs as part of the claim from the RAF as an attorney would.
RAF claims with DSC Attorneys
The success of claims against the RAF depends, to a large degree, on the expertise, experience and persistence of experienced legal professionals.
At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims. Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team 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 also work on a no win, no fee basis.
Contact us online or call 0861 465 879 for the very best legal support and representation.