If you’re injured in a road accident and the identities of the driver and vehicle owner are unknown, you can still seek compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) by filing a “hit and run” claim.
Who can claim after a hit and run accident
When any road accident caused by another party results in debilitating injury or death, the injured or the family of the deceased can claim compensation from the RAF.
Motor vehicle drivers, as well as passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists, can all claim from the RAF.
You can make a “hit and run” claim on condition that the accident occurred in South Africa, involved a motor vehicle and was the result of negligence or law-breaking by an unidentified individual.
What you can claim
You can claim for general damages if a serious injury was sustained in a hit-and-run accident. Injuries regarded as “serious” in this context include the loss of an unborn child, an impairment of 30 percent or more of the whole body, serious disfigurement, mental impairment or the loss of a bodily function.
Both past and future medical expenses can be claimed in the case of serious injury.
Loss of income
You can also claim from the RAF for loss of present and future income if you are unable to work as a result of the accident.
The amount payable for loss of income claims is capped to a specified value. This value was set in 2008 as R160 000, adjusted quarterly for inflation.
The cap applies regardless of whether actual loss of earnings was greater.
The current limit that applies is published in a government gazette.
Loss of support
If a hit-and-run accident results in death, dependants of the deceased can claim loss of support.
Loss of support claims are capped to the same value as loss of income claims (R160 000 per year, adjusted quarterly for inflation since 2008).
If a person dies in a road accident that was at least partly someone else’s fault, the family can claim compensation for the cost of the funeral.
Funeral cost claims are limited to the costs of cremation or interment.
Submitting a claim
To claim from the RAF in the case of a “hit and run” accident, the claimant needs to report the accident at a police station as soon as possible.
A claim then needs to be lodged with the RAF within two years of the accident.
The claimant needs to submit details of the accident, the police report and case number, relevant medical and financial statements, and all other relevant documentation to the RAF.
Ensure you’re properly represented
Due to the often complicated and technical nature of RAF “hit and run” claims, it’s strongly recommended that you enlist the aid of a suitably qualified personal injury attorney who has experience in handling RAF claims.
At DSC Attorneys, all our attorneys are highly experienced in personal injury law and offer many years of combined experience in handling Road Accident Fund claims.