Road Accident Fund claims can be complex. Without legal expertise and a good deal of experience, it can be difficult to meet all the requirements, or to do so in a way that maximises the likely success of your claim.
Complexities of submitting a claim
You may face a number of challenges when submitting a claim to the Road Accident Fund.
Gathering required documentation
First, the documentation required as part of your claim depends on the nature of the claim. It can be difficult for someone without prior knowledge of road accident claims to determine exactly what to include.
Due to abuse of the system and the submission of fraudulent claims, you need to prove that your claim is entirely legitimate. If you don’t supply enough evidence to do this, you may receive little or no compensation.
Another complexity arises if you are partially responsible for an accident, or for the injuries that you sustained (for instance if you were in a motorcycle accident and weren’t wearing a helmet at the time).
The amount of cover you can expect will depend on the extent of your liability, relative to another party’s liability, for the accident.
You’ll need to prove that you weren’t entirely responsible for the accident (or your injuries), which can be difficult to do.
Supporting claims for future loss of earnings and medical costs
A claim for loss of future income can be hard to substantiate. Various documents are needed to verify that your injury doesn’t pre-date the accident and that it is debilitating.
Similarly, to claim for future medical expenses, you need to provide suitable documentation to prove that treatment for your injury will be on-going and to indicate the likely costs.
Why you should consult an attorney
An experienced attorney will guide you through the process of claiming – from determining how much you can claim to gathering the necessary evidence and documentation to support your claim, filing the claim, tracking its progress and following up if there are unusual delays.
An attorney can also help you to negotiate with the Road Accident Fund.
Often the Road Accident Fund makes an offer to a claimant in the hope of an early settlement. It may be tempting to accept this offer rather than waiting longer for a payout.
However, often an early settlement represents just a fraction of what you could receive if you proceeded with your claim. An attorney familiar with RAF claims and typical settlements will have a clear idea of what’s in your best interests.