You have been involved in a car accident, you do not know who to approach for help nor how to claim from the Road Accident Fund, well the good news are we are here to assist you and we are committed in assisting you throughout your journey in claiming your monies from the RAF.
The Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 came into operation on the 01 May 1997, which currently governs the RAF in conjunction with the RAF Amendment Act 19 of 2005.
There are six elements that must be present in each and every claim in order for the RAF to be liable.
These elements are:
· Third party
· Damage or loss suffered
· Caused by or arising from the driving
· Negligence or wrongful act
· Motor vehicle
· Within the borders of the Republic of South Africa
The RAF Amendment Act added a seventh element to the liability description:
It stipulates that a third party will only be compensated for non-pecuniary loss (general damages) for a serious injury. The experts shall be appointed to assess the seriousness of the injuries of which 30% must be proven for the injuries to be considered as serious injuries. This is only applicable to claims that fall under the Amendment Act- accidents that happened on or after the 01 August 2008.
The person that wishes to claim compensation from the RAF needs to qualify as a third party. Meaning third party claiming as a result of bodily injuries suffered and or third party claiming as a result of the death of someone.
However suppliers such as hospitals and ambulances, Compensation Fund or Employer individual Liable they all qualify to claim compensation from the RAF even though they are not third parties.
The following are heads of damages that can be claimed as compensation by third party in respect of damages suffered as the result of bodily injuries:
· Past medical expenses
· Future medical expenses
· Past loss of earnings
· Future loss of earnings
· General damages
Prescription periods of a claim can be divided into three stages but for the purposes of this article I will focus on stage one. It is also important to note that prescription periods also differs for identified and unidentified (Hit and Run) claims.
Section 23(1) of the Road Accident Act states that a claim will become prescribed upon the expiry of a period of three years from the date upon which the cause of action arose, either from date of accident or from the date of death when you are dealing with a loss of support/funeral expenses claim.
However prescription for minor persons is suspended until the minor becomes a major, i.e. reaches the age of 18 in terms of the new Act. A claim for a hit and run will become prescribed after a period of two years from the date a cause of action arose.
About the author
Thobekani Khanyile is a candidate attorney at Mogotsi Attorneys.