What can I claim from the RAF?
If you were injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident on South African roads and the accident wasn’t your fault, you can claim the following from the RAF:
- compensation for both emergency and other medical expenses arising from an injury sustained in the accident
- loss of present and future income, as a result of injury sustained
- general damages for pain and suffering, if you have sustained a serious injury
- loss of present and future financial support in the case of the death of a breadwinner
- funeral costs in the case of death of a family member.
Can the driver who caused an accident claim from the RAF?
You aren’t eligible for RAF cover if you were the driver of the vehicle solely responsible for an accident. However, if you were driving a vehicle owned by someone else and the accident was due to a mechanical problem, you’re entitled to lodge a claim if the owner was or should have been aware of the issue and failed to maintain the vehicle properly.
You aren’t entitled to compensation if you were the only person involved in a road accident that was due to your negligence – for example, if you hit a pole or a tree.
What are the RAF claim limits?
Loss of income and loss of support claims arising from accidents that occurred before 1 August 2008 are not limited to a specific amount. This applies except where such claims are governed by the Transitional Provisions Act (TPA). This where such claims would have been subjected to the various passenger claim limits but were not yet finalised when the TPA came into effect in 2012. The Act entitles such claimants to the same damages as claimants injured on or after 1 August 2008.
For accidents that occurred on or after 1 August 2008, loss of income and loss of support claims are capped at a prescribed amount, set at R160 000 per year in 2008 and adjusted quarterly since then to account for inflation.
How much does the RAF pay?
For accidents that occurred on or after 1 August 2008, claims for loss of earnings and loss of support (both present and future) are capped at a prescribed amount, set at R160 000 per year in 2008 and adjusted quarterly since then to account for inflation. This is regardless of the actual loss incurred.
Compensation for general damages can be claimed only in cases involving serious injury, and medical expenses are covered at prescribed rates.
In the case of a death, dependants or close family of the deceased can claim for the cost of cremating the deceased or interring the remains in a grave, and for loss of support if the deceased was a breadwinner.
Multiple factors will determine the payout for any particular claim, but you can find some examples of Road Accident Fund Payouts here.
What is the time limit for RAF claims?
RAF claims must be submitted within three years of the date of the accident if the wrongdoer is identified. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, you must submit your claim within two years of the date of the accident.
How do I claim for future expenses or losses?
You have only one chance to claim. If you settle for an inadequate sum, you have no further recourse (save if you were incorrectly advised).
A suitably qualified attorney will ensure that your claim takes likely future expenses arising because of your injury into account.
A specialist attorney will refer you to the appropriate medical and para-medical specialists for detailed advice about your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, including the likely long-term impact of your injury.
Where it’s possible that your injuries will affect your ability to earn an income, either temporarily or permanently, the attorney will also refer you to experts regarding career progression and remuneration in your field, and to actuaries who can accurately calculate future losses.
Do I need an attorney to submit a claim to the RAF?
It’s possible to submit a claim to the RAF independently, but we strongly advise against doing this.
An attorney familiar with RAF claims and typical settlements will have a clear idea of what’s in your best interests. The 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 negotiate on your behalf with the Road Accident Fund and advise you on whether to accept an early settlement, if one is offered. Contact us on 086 146 5879 or online to see if you have a claim.