Victims of road accidents who sustained personal injuries usually have a claim against the Road Accident Fund in South Africa.
Already settled for less? Don't despair! It may not be too late to have your settlement reviewed by a Court of Law.
There are numerous examples of direct claims from the RAF which were paid out at a fraction of what could be claimed.
When a person sustains an injury on a South African road, the injured person has to lodge a road accident claim against the RAF (Previously known as Third Party Insurance Claims). Some law firms have specialist road accident attorneys. The claimant has to prove that he has suffered physical injury or a loss due to the physical injury or death of a breadwinner because of the negligent driving of another.
The negligent person is indemnified against claims for this type of damage. The injured person cannot claim from the RAF for the damage, for example, done to his vehicle (the person who caused the accident is liable for this), but only for medical expenses, loss of income or maintenance, pain and suffering or emotional shock.
A person claiming damages for personal injury as a result of the acts of another has to prove that the personal injury happened as well as the quantum of the damages that was suffered. An injured person should record and keep all evidence of the personal injury to enable him to make a convincing case in court.
A competent personal injury lawyer will be able to give advice as to what an injured party may claim and the process which has to be undertaken to lodge a claim (with RAF-claims, specifically, there is a lot of red tape). A victim of a personal injury has to be able to receive compensation for the damage that he suffered, which he will best be able to do with the help and expertise of specialist personal injury attorneys.
To use a little legal jargon, a person has a personal injury claim when there has been a lessening in a highly personal right or personality interest not affecting the person’s financial position. A highly personal right has been impaired when a person has suffered pain, emotional shock, psychological illness, psychiatric injury or physical suffering due to the fault of another.
Where a person’s physical body has been violated, he has a patrimonial and non-patrimonial claim i.e. medical expenses and loss of income as well as monetary compensation for his pain and suffering. The person does not have to suffer the physical injury himself; when someone has suffered an emotional shock because of witnessing another person’s suffering, he also has a personal injury claim against the guilty party.
A client and his personal injury attorney can agree on a contingency fee for services rendered by the attorney. This basically entails a no-win, no-fee situation. If the attorney fails to prove a client’s claim, the attorney will not receive a fee.
If the attorney, however, achieves a successful outcome in court, the attorney is entitled to a fee equal to or higher than his normal fee, but this amount may not exceed his normal fee by more than a 100%.
If a client has a monetary claim, the attorney’s fee may not be more than 25% of the total amount awarded to the client. Costs awarded to the client are not included in these calculations. A client is entitled to refer an unfair contingency fee agreement to the relevant law society for reviewing and the law society may cast aside certain provisions of the agreement which are unreasonable or unjust.
If you claim through a lawyer, you are protected by the Attorney Fidelity Fund [AFF], an insurance fund through which you can sue a lawyer if you have been exploited. By claiming directly from RAF, there is no such insurance.
Do not be lured by promises of a 'quick payout' or intimidated into a settling for an amount far less than you are entitled to!
‘Accident vicms who are seriously injured and who make hasty selements with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) for what might appear to them to be a significant sum without independent legal advice or before their claims are properly quanfied, will have their whole lives to regret this,’ warn Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) CoChairpersons Mvuzo Notyesi and Jan van Rensburg.Read Article
Despite the RAF's obligation to settle matters fairly and equitably, a victim received an under-settled pay-out of R32 000 from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). After litigation, seven years later she is to receive nearly R1.8 millionRead Article
For some time, focus in the media has been on the RAF’s financial woes and alleged mismanagement.Nonetheless, the fund’s total revenue increased slightly, from R33.21-billion in 2016 to R33.34-billion in 2017. This is despite a 0% increase in the fuel levy, which is the RAF’s source of revenue.
The total compensation paid out by the RAF for 2017 amounted to R29.8-billion. This is compared to R32.3-billion in 2016.Read Article
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