Claiming from the RAF: Why use an attorney?
Updated: Jul 14
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is a government-run insurance scheme operating in terms of the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 (as amended). It is an organ of State created in order to pay compensation to road accident victims injured or to the dependents of those killed as a result of the negligence of the driver or owner of a motor vehicle at any place within South Africa. Although you can claim directly from the RAF if you have been involved in a vehicle accident, this is a complicated and technical process.
An attorney specialising in personal injury claims has the knowledge and experience to assist you and to ensure that your claim is properly calculated and submitted to the RAF in accordance with the Road Accident Fund Act and Regulations.
Who can claim?
• You can claim only if the accident was not all your fault. A dependant of a breadwinner can claim if the breadwinner was not entirely to blame for the accident.
• You can claim if you were a passenger in a car, taxi, bus, truck, bakkie, or on a motorbike and suffered injuries in an accident.
• You cannot claim if you did not suffer any injuries in the accident.
• You may not be able to claim if the injuries suffered were not ‘serious’.
• If the deceased had no dependants, there may be no claim arising from his/her death.
Do you need an attorney?
You can claim directly from the RAF, but
• claiming from the RAF is a complicated and technical process;
• medical reports (RAF 1 and RAF 4) need to be completed by doctors, and paid for;
• documents need to be obtained from the South African Police Service, and paid for;
• an affidavit explaining how the accident took place must be prepared and lodged with your claim;
• medical records need to be obtained from hospitals and doctors, and paid for;
• you need to quantify your claim – that is a state in your claim form what you are claiming for various heads of damages such as pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disfigurement, disability, and shock (general damages), loss of income, loss of earning capacity, future medical costs and past expenses (special damages);
• to claim general damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disability, disfigurement, and shock you need to lodge a serious injury assessment report (RAF 4) from a suitably qualified medical expert who has assessed your injury as ‘serious’ as provided for in the Act and Regulations.
An attorney specialising in personal injury claims has the knowledge and experience to assist you and to ensure that your claim is properly calculated and submitted to the RAF in accordance with the Act and Regulations. There are time limits that apply to your claim and if they are not complied with your claim will be unenforceable (prescribed).
Many attorneys specialising in personal injury cases will also incur and carry the costs necessary to prosecute your claim pending finalisation of the claim.
If your attorney does not attend to your claim properly, allows your claim to prescribe or under-claims, you can complain to the relevant provincial law society and/or sue your attorney. If you claim yourself and make a mistake and allow your claim to lapse, the RAF will not pay you and you will not receive any compensation.
An attorney specialising in personal injury will have the knowledge and experience to advise you whether the amount offered by the RAF to settle your claim is fair and reasonable in the circumstances of your particular case.
How much time do you have to claim?
Claims need to be lodged within 3 years from the date of the accident if the driver and/or owner of the vehicle at fault has been identified. If it is not possible to identify the owner or
the driver of the vehicle at fault, then the claim must be lodged within 2 years.
After the claim is lodged there is a waiting period of 120 days. After that summons may be issued within 5 years from the date of the accident. If your claim is lodged late or summons
is not served in time, your claim will become unenforceable (prescribed).
What you can ask your attorney
• How much your attorney will be claiming.
• How long your attorney thinks your claim will take to be finalised.
• Any questions about fees and other costs.
• Ask for progress reports so you can see how your claim is being dealt with.
• Ask for a full account at the end of your case.
Mahumani Inc. helps clients submit claims to the RAF. We make sure that your claim is correctly and comprehensively submitted and that you receive the correct compensation for the damages suffered as a result of your injuries sustained.
Contact us to help with your claim, today.