Road accidents are a common occurrence in our society, and it may be very confusing as to how to go about instituting a claim against the Road Accident Fund (“RAF”). The information below is a guideline in determining whether you may be entitled to institute a claim against the RAF, and to provide you with some guidance on starting this often tricky and complex process.
It is important to note that there are prescribed time limits in which to lodge your claim in order for the claim to be a valid claim. If it is an identified claim, meaning that the person who is at fault’s details is known, the claim must be lodged with the RAF within three (3) years from date of the accident. If it is an unidentified claim, where the identity of the person at fault’s details are unknown, the claim must be lodged with the RAF within two (2) years from the date of the accident.
A claim can only be instituted against the RAF if the damages suffered were caused as a result of the negligent driving of a motor vehicle. If this is in the affirmative, it then needs to be established whether or not you are entitled to a claim against the RAF.
The following people are entitled to claim from the RAF:
- Persons who have sustained personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident, whether as a pedestrian, a passenger or a driver (unless such driver was the sole cause of the accident);
- A dependent of a deceased breadwinner (unless the deceased breadwinner was the sole cause of the accident); and
- Persons who paid for a funeral of a deceased who passed away as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Once you fall within the categories above, there are prescribed claim forms that need to be submitted. These prescribed forms need to be accompanied by various other supporting documentation, amongst others, a certified copy of an identity document and an affidavit setting out the details of the accident and hospital records.
It should be noted that persons under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent or legal guardian in instituting their claim against the RAF. If you are unsure of the process to be followed and require further information pertaining to your personal situation, it is advisable to contact a legal representative.
Should you obtain the assistance of a legal representative, you will need to provide them with a special power of attorney to handle your claim on your behalf as well as an authority to inspect your medical records.
Author: Sonja Tifloen