People involved in road accidents are urged to claim directly from the Road Accident Fund instead of spending large amounts of money on litigation fees.
Anyone injured in a road accident is encouraged to claim compensation directly from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) rather than spending money on litigation.
“Using lawyers can be costly and often results in a large chunk of the money intended for the victim being spent on litigation fees instead of their maintenance,” said Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi.
He was speaking at the launch of the Department of Transport’s festive season campaign in Bela-Bela, in Limpopo.
The minister handed over a wheelchair to Letlhogonolo Chokwe, a RAF beneficiary who, as a pedestrian, was hit by a car in 1989.
“They [the RAF] have really assisted me with compensation; everything I need, like the wheelchair, crutches and the chair I use in the shower, they bought for me. Whenever I need help, they assist me,” said Chokwe.
The RAF, an agency established by the Road Accident Fund Act of 1996, provides appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa. It pays medical and rehabilitation costs as well as compensation to people injured as a result of motor vehicles accidents.
RAF officials are available all over the country and are also strategically placed in hospitals to assist those who involved in road accidents.
“You often find that we, as [the Department of Transport], have to go through lengthy court processes to ensure beneficiaries receive their money when they make use of a lawyer,” said Maswanganyi.
The efficiency of RAF is, therefore, a crucial component to deliver services to all road users.
“We are grateful that the Road Accident Fund is improving its administration of funds to the beneficiaries,” the minister said.
Steps to claim
The first step in claiming from the RAF is to gather all the necessary documents:
- The police report and case number of the accident.
- All your relevant personal details as well as those of any other person involved in the accident.
- All medical documents supporting the claim for the injuries incurred.
- Any motivating testimony from medical and/or legal experts, as well as witness testimony.
- Any relevant information pertaining to the accident such as damages to the vehicle/s and/or surrounding structures.
Make sure all the official RAF forms are filled in.
Who may make a claim?
Claims may be made by:
- A person who sustained a physical injury in the accident – except for a driver who was the sole cause of the accident.
- A dependent of a deceased breadwinner.
- A close relative of the deceased who paid for the funeral.
A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent, legal guardian or curator ad litem.
- In addition, claims can be submitted by the injured person or a representative and/or the supplier in terms of a certificate of undertaking.
- In the event of the supplier making a claim, a written request is required before the assessed liability can be reimbursed.
What is the time period in which a person can claim?
- Identified claims (where the identity of the driver or owner of the motor vehicle involved is known) must be lodged with the RAF within three years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within five years from the date of accident.
- Hit and run claims (where the identity of the driver or owner of the motor vehicle involved is unknown) must be lodged with the RAF within two years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within five years from the date of accident.
- Claims in terms of the undertaking certificate issued in terms of section 17(4)(a)(ii) of the Act must be lodged and finalised within five years from the date on which services were rendered to the injured.
For more information, go to https://www.raf.co.za/Pages/default.aspx.