Due to a heavy case load, poor administration and the often complex nature of road accidents, Road Accident Fund claims can take years to be resolved. It’s good to familiarise yourself with the process that the Road Accident Fund follows once it receives a claim so you can follow up on any unreasonable delays or outcomes.
Registration and investigation of your claim
Once the Road Accident Fund has registered a claim on its system, it conducts an investigation to determine whether or not the claim is valid. During this time, the Road Accident Fund may require that your injuries be assessed by their chosen medical experts. It may also call for additional information and supporting documentation.
The Road Accident Fund is permitted a grace period of 120 days in which to conduct its investigation. No further procedural steps may be taken against them during this time.
Investigations are seldom completed within the time period allocated. However, once the grace period has elapsed, your attorney may issue a summons to the Road Accident Fund to inform them that you intend to pursue your claim in court.
Settlement of your claim
The Road Accident Fund pays damages to claimants based on the nature of their injuries, the medical expenses incurred and any loss of income suffered as a result of the injuries. Once a claim has been investigated, the Road Accident Fund may approach the claimant with an offer in the hope of settling out of court.
Although this offer can be appealing, in many instances it represents only a percentage of the amount you’d be awarded in court. To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, it’s important to have a qualified attorney represent and guide you.
When your claim goes to court
If your claim can’t be settled through negotiation, it will go to court. If this happens, it’s important to enlist the services of a suitably qualified attorney to present evidence on your behalf. You may or may not be required to testify during the court proceedings.
Once your case has been heard in court, the appointed judge has sole discretion over what, if any, compensation is due to you.
Possible waiting periods and delays
Complex claims involving serious injuries can take anywhere from three to six years – and sometimes even longer – to finalise.
Some of the common causes for delays include:
- difficulty obtaining supporting documents from third parties such as doctors, the police, witnesses and hospitals which are necessary to substantiate your claim
- dispute over the cause of an accident and over who was responsible; especially if the claims it receives are incomplete or contradictory, the Road Accident Fund may conduct time-consuming investigations
- dispute over the compensation to be granted to the claimant
lengthy court proceedings
- in some cases, the age of the victim – where a young child sustains mild to moderate
- brain injury in an accident, it’s often possible to determine the compensation due only once the child reaches certain developmental milestones.
Why hire an attorney to assist with your claim
Hiring an attorney with experience in Road Accident Fund claims will give you the best chance of a successful claim.
At DSC Attorneys, we’re committed to ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. All our attorneys are highly experienced in personal injury law and offer many years of combined experience in handling Road Accident Fund claims.