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Who Can Make a RAF Claim for a Minor?

Who Can Make a RAF Claim for a Minor?
Mar 27, 2024 gnuworld

There’s nothing more tragic than a child being seriously injured, or worse, in a road accident. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, collisions are “…the leading cause of death and injuries for children under the age of 14 in South Africa”.

Like all individuals in South Africa, minors injured in motor vehicle accidents have the right to claim compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). However, a victim must be represented by a third party or, in qualifying cases, wait until they turn 18 to pursue a RAF claim.

Here we offer details on who can make a RAF claim for a minor:

Who can make RAF claims for minors?

A parent or legal guardian can make a RAF claim on behalf of a minor.  If there is no parent or legal guardian, an application can be made to the High Court for a curator ad litem to be appointed.

A curator ad litem is a legal representative appointed by the court to represent the minor when no parent or legal guardian can be found.

Alternatively, the minor can wait until he or she reaches the age of 18 to register a claim (in qualifying cases).

Examples of individuals not automatically entitled to claim for a minor

Stepfathers and stepmothers don’t automatically have the right to claim for a minor unless they have been appointed as legal guardians.

Foster parents and foster grandparents also aren’t automatically entitled to claim. They must be awarded parental responsibilities and rights by the Children’s Court.

In both instances, a curator would have to be appointed. However, any of these persons would have the necessary legal standing to be the applicant in an application to the High Court, for the curatorship application.

What types of RAF compensation can be claimed

The following types of compensation can be claimed from the RAF when a minor is injured in a traffic collision.

Past and future medical expenses

Any medical expenses that were incurred due to the accident, including past expenses and any ongoing medical treatment due to injuries sustained in the crash, can be claimed.

General damages

If the injury is considered serious (as determined by legally defined criteria), general damages for pain and suffering can be claimed.

Loss of future earnings

If injuries incurred in an accident affect a minor’s ability to earn an income in the future, compensation for loss of earnings can be claimed.

Time limits on RAF claims for minors

All RAF claims have a time period when the claim must be lodged. If this window is missed, the claim prescribes, meaning it becomes unenforceable in law.

In the case of RAF claims for minors, if the wrongdoer in the accident can be identified, the claim must be lodged by a parent, guardian or curator ad litem before the minor turns 18.

If the minor waits to make the claim, he or she must do so within three years of turning 18.

If the accident was a hit-and-run and the responsible party can’t be identified, the claim must be submitted within two years of the accident.

Administration of RAF compensation awarded to minors

The recommended approach is to establish a trust to look after RAF compensation awarded to a minor.

Alternatively, a trusted individual can be appointed as a curator bonis to oversee the minor’s funds.

If this is impossible, the funds will go to the Guardian’s Fund, under the administration of the Master of the High Court.

However, this can be difficult and time-consuming to interact with, even when the beneficiary turns 18.

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RAF claims for a minor with DSC Attorneys

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.

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. Contact us online or call 0861 465 879 for legal support and representation that’s effective, ethical and caring.

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