The Road Accident Fund (RAF) continues to face administrative and financial challenges, and claiming from the fund is a time-consuming process. Nonetheless, recent RAF payouts illustrate how valuable successful claims can be.
Payouts from the RAF can make a dramatic difference to the lives of those injured by road accidents, and their families.
Note that for the best chance of securing a RAF payout that’s fair, it’s vital to use the services of a suitably qualified attorney.
In this article, we cover:
- details of claim payouts from the latest RAF annual report
- notable recent RAF payouts
- factors that affect the value of a RAF claim
- RAF settlement offers versus court awards
- RAF claims with DSC Attorneys.
RAF annual report: claim payouts
The Road Accident Fund’s annual report provides an overview of the RAF’s current status, financial statements and feedback on management and governance for the financial year.
The RAF’s 2019/2020 annual report sheds light on recent RAF payouts.
According to the report, the average claim value increased by 21% in the 2019/2020 financial year, compared to the previous year.
Total claims received by the RAF increased by 3%, to R43.2 billion.
The values of specific RAF claim types increased as follows:
- medical claims increased by 20% to R18,568
- general damages claims increased by 4% to R482,291
- loss of earnings claims increased by 8% to R826,007
- loss of support claims increased by 9% to R450,307
- funeral costs claims increased by 2% to R18,521.
The RAF’s financial situation remains troubling.
Despite an increase in the RAF fuel levy, the total revenue for the 2019/2020 financial year decreased by 5%, from R43.24 billion to R41.24 billion.
Notable recent RAF payouts
These are some of the highest and most notable recent RAF payouts.
In 2021, the courts awarded a payout of R6,509,622 to a child who was hit and seriously injured by a swerving taxi on the side of a road. The payout covered general damages, loss of earnings, future medical treatments and hospital or nursing home accommodation and the setting up and administration of a trust for the child.
In 2020, the RAF paid R4.6 million to a young woman who suffered multiple injuries in an accident on the N2 highway between Sodwana Bay and Johannesburg. She was a passenger in the vehicle. The injuries prevented her from pursuing a career working on yachts in the United States.
R2.5 million and 100% of medical costs
In January 2020, the RAF was ordered to pay R2 578 850 and all future medical costs to a man who suffered a severe head injury in a road accident. His injury interfered with his ability to continue his work. Before the accident, he worked as Chief Director of the National Department of Rural Development.
A six-year-old pedestrian suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by a vehicle. In June 2020, the courts ordered the RAF to pay out R7 476 619.75 to satisfy a claim for general damages and loss of earnings.
A young girl was awarded a settlement of R5,995,031 after being hit by a taxi. She was walking to school along the pavement when the taxi hit her, causing serious injuries. Her case proceeded to the High Court where it was settled for over R5.9 million.
After a head-on collision, a woman was left with a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures that negatively impacted her life. In 2018, her RAF claim was settled for in the High Court for R6,146,509.
As a passenger in a vehicle that overturned, a woman suffered a head injury that left her with memory issues and changes in behaviour. Her forehead was also badly scarred and disfigured in the crash. With legal assistance, her claim against the RAF was eventually settled for R 3,609,295 – many times the RAF’s initial offer of R600,000.
A passenger in a speeding vehicle that collided with a barrier was left with a loss of feeling and function on one side of his body, resulting in an inability to work or earn an income. With legal representation, the man was able to secure a R6,800,000 RAF settlement in early 2019.
Factors that affect the value of a RAF claim
The payout for a valid RAF claim is influenced by a number of factors, such as:
- the extent to which you were responsible for causing a road accident (if relevant)
- the nature and severity of your injuries
- the expected short- and long-term consequences of your injuries
- medical costs (including likely future costs) associated with your injuries
- and loss of income or support as a direct result of your injuries.
A suitably experienced attorney can determine if your claim has merit. The attorney will also be familiar with past RAF payouts for claims involving similar elements to yours.
RAF settlements versus court awards
The RAF is facing a combination of mounting pressure to deliver and eroded legal resources.
Occupying media attention in 2020 was the RAF’s controversial decision to stop using panel attorneys, to reduce its own legal costs.
More recently, the RAF confirmed a goal of rapidly settling a 10-year backlog of long-overdue claims.
Early in 2021, Collins Letsoalo, CEO of the Road Accident Fund, said, “We have set ourselves to settle these claims within 120 days and that’s exactly what we are doing. We are starting with the oldest claims.”
In this context, it’s easier and potentially cheaper for the RAF to make out-of-court settlement offers than to engage in protracted court cases.
Unfortunately, RAF settlement offers are not always fair.
It’s vital for claimants not to accept settlement offers that are unreasonably low, relative to the compensation that the courts would likely award.
An experienced attorney will have a good idea of the RAF payouts for comparable claims, and can advise you on whether to accept a settlement offer.
RAF claims with DSC Attorneys
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 secure the Road Accident