If you or a close family member has been injured in a road accident, you may be investigating how to claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
How to claim from the Road Accident Fund
Going in, it’s important to note that the RAF claims process is complex and time-consuming.
A RAF claim generally takes several years to finalise.
The best advice is to use the services of an experienced attorney, who has dealt extensively with RAF claims. This will give you the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve.
How to claim: an overview of the RAF claims process
Unfortunately, the claims process can take a long time to complete.
This is due to a number of factors. Among these are the RAF’s heavy caseload, inefficient administration, the time it takes to secure consultations with leading medical experts, delays in securing court dates and the complex nature of road accident investigations.
It’s a good idea to be familiar with the process. Although your attorney will also guide you, it can help to have an overview of the steps involved at the outset.
Submission of required documents for a RAF claim
As the first step, the attorney gathers and compiles evidence to support your RAF claim.
For example, this includes:
- a police report about the road accident
- contact details of everyone involved
- medical records detailing injuries and any treatments
- any witness statements
- other information relating to the accident, such as damage reports
- medical invoices and statements relating to your injuries.
Your attorney will compile the collected information and evidence for submission to the RAF using the prescribed RAF forms, along with supporting documents.
Registration and investigation by the RAF
Once the claim forms have been submitted, the RAF registers the claim on its claim system.
After registration, the validity of your claim is investigated.
The RAF has 120 days to conduct its investigation. However, the RAF often fails to complete its investigation process within the allotted time.
In fact, the RAF may fail to respond before a claim prescribes (lapses after a specific amount of time has passed) if no legal intervention occurs.
Issuing a summons to the RAF
Once the 120-day period has elapsed, your attorney can issue a summons to inform the RAF that you will pursue the claim in court.
The RAF is then compelled to make a settlement offer or defend its decision in court.
If the case appears likely to proceed to trial, you’ll need expert medical testimony to back up your claim. A lawyer specialising in RAF claims will have access to the right medical experts, as well as the appropriate legal know-how and experience.
Negotiating a settlement if an offer is made
The RAF may make a settlement offer at any point in the claims process.
Assisted by medical and legal experts, the parties negotiate the best possible settlement out of court.
This may occur early on. More often though, it happens later in the claims process – even after court proceedings are well underway.
An experienced attorney is familiar with court rulings about compensation in a broad range of road accident cases. So the attorney can advise on whether a particular settlement offer is in your best interests.
Securing a trial date
If no settlement offer is received, the claim is pursued in court.
It may take a considerable amount of time to secure a trial date.
Each division of the High Court has different pre-trial procedures that must be followed before a case is considered “trial ready”. It can also be challenging to secure a date when key medical experts are available to testify.
In some cases, it’s necessary to secure more than one trial date. An initial court hearing may establish the liability or negligence aspect of a claim. A further hearing may then determine the amount of compensation that’s due.
If no settlement is reached, the trial proceeds and a court decision is reached.
Payment of RAF compensation
It may take the RAF as long as 180 days, or even longer, to pay you the awarded compensation.
However, a good attorney will insist that mora interest be paid to you on the outstanding amount, starting 30 days after the date of the court order or settlement.
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 get the compensation they deserve, in as short a period as possible. We work on a no win, no fee basis.