Due to a heavy case load, poor administration and the often complex nature of road accidents, RAF 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 know what to expect.
Registration and investigation of your claim
Once the RAF has registered a claim on its system, it conducts an investigation to determine the claim’s validity.
It may require that your injuries be assessed by their chosen medical experts. It may also call for additional information and supporting documents.
The RAF 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 this time period.
However, once the grace period has elapsed, your attorney may issue a summons to inform the Fund 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
- any loss of income or support suffered as a result of the injuries.
Find out more about what you can claim from the RAF.
Once a claim has been investigated, the RAF may offer the claimant a settlement in the hope of settling out of court.
This offer may be appealing. However, 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
- dispute over the cause of an accident and who was responsible for it
- dispute over the compensation to be granted to the claimant
- lengthy court proceedings
- in some cases, the age of the victim – for example, where a young child sustains mild to moderate brain injury in an accident, it might not be possible to determine the compensation due until 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.