Should you be involved in a motor vehicle collision in South Africa you would have a claim against a statutory body known as the Road Accident Fund. The Road Accident Fund is an institution created by legislation which provides compensation to any victim be it a passenger, driver or pedestrian, depending on the circumstances, of the accident.
The Road Accident Fund, is funded by way of a fuel levy each time that a litre of petrol is bought a small amount is channelled towards the Road Accident Fund so it can manage the compensation scheme and pay compensation.
The Road Accident Fund solicits victims of motor vehicle accidents directly, this means it approaches victims of motor vehicle accidents without being requested to do so and encourages those victims, who are usually in a vulnerable state to lodge the claim directly with it and without involving lawyers. It does so by setting up booths in various hospitals and using either paid consultants or employees to enter hospital wards and make contact with claimants directly. The Road Accident Fund then entices victims to sign up with it on the basis that it will be less costly then instructing a private attorney and promising that it will be able to obtain a result quickly. Of course this has not proved to be the case.
The Road Accident Fund in these instances not only acts as a Judge and prosecutor but is also tasked with presenting a case on behalf of the victims. This is clearly impossible! Most recently in a press release it was disclosed by the Road Accident Fund that it had to issue almost 2500 Summons’ against itself to prevent claims from prescribing /lapsing. The manner in which the Road Accident Fund is managing these claims is clearly not equivalent to what a private attorney would offer and in violation of the mandate which it accepts from each of those victims.
In our offices we have taken over many matters where the Road Accident Fund was instructed to pursue a claim and where it has attempted to grossly under settle those very same claims.
An attorney instructed by you will act in your best interest to ensure that you maximise your recovery against the Road Accident Fund. Each claim must be investigated, the damages assessed and the injuries determined. If the injuries are not accurately determined or presented there may be a difficulty with enforcing an undertaking for future medical and hospital expenses which the Road Accident Fund will eventually provide to the victims of a motor vehicle accident. There is only one opportunity to recover damages against the Road Accident Fund which means that if the matter is resolved at too low a figure the Road Accident Fund cannot be a Defendant in a further claim. No further claims can be brought against it.
Securing your rights and having somebody with your best interest at heart means instructing an independent attorney to advise you and represent you in a motor vehicle claim.