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.
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) annual report
The Road Accident Fund’s annual report for 2017/18 was recently released and provides an overview of the RAF’s current status, financial statements and feedback on management and governance for the financial year.
Here are some of the key comparative statistics from the report:
- total revenue for the year increased to R37.34 billion from R33.34 the previous year
- total claims increased by 16% to R34.6 billion compared to the previous year
- 271,933 new claims were registered, and 203,493 old claims were finalised
- a target to reduce the number of open cases was exceeded by 4.6%
- the average loss of earnings claim increased by 7% to R691,459
- the average general damages claim increased by 10% to R429,486
- the average loss of support claim increased by 13% to R417,281
- the average medical expenses claim decreased by 29% to R10,621.
Notable RAF payouts in 2017/18
These are some of the highest and most notable RAF payouts from the R34.6 billion total claims settlements for the 2017/18 financial year.
A man was awarded R5,426,659 after a road accident in 2010 left him with impaired quality of life. He was a passenger in a bakkie that crashed into the back of a truck, sending him through the windshield. The brain injuries he sustained resulted in impaired cognitive function which affects his ability to work.
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 very serious injuries. Her case proceeded to the High Court where it was settled for over R5.9 million.
After a head-on collision in 2013, 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 despite the RAF’s initial offer of R600,000.
A passenger in a speeding vehicle that collided with a barrier in 2015 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 settlement in early 2019.
Why direct RAF claims without legal representation aren’t a good idea
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.
Kirstie Haslam, one of DSC Attorney’s directors, notes that, “Despite the RAF’s assurance to so-called “direct claimants” that cutting out lawyers will speed up the resolution of their claims and save them money, this is simply totally untrue.”
DSC Attorneys is approached on an almost daily basis by road accident victims who have had their claims wrongly rejected, reduced or simply ignored.
The RAF has been engaged in a massive drive to solicit “direct claims”. Its latest annual report confirmed a 26.5% increase in those claiming from the RAF without legal representation.
Over the same period, the average value paid out by the RAF per claim decreased by 5%. So as more individuals proceed with direct claims, less compensation is being awarded.
The RAF doesn’t report on how many direct claims it rejects. At one point, however, it’s believed that over 100 direct claims were prescribing – that is, being allowed to expire due to delays – per month.
A disturbing number of direct claims are also wrongly rejected or under-settled.
To ensure the best possible outcome with a RAF claim, it’s vital to seek assistance from a competent, ethical attorney.
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 Fund payouts they deserve, in as short a period as possible. We work on a no win, no fee basis.