According to official estimates, approximately 2.9 million immigrants live in South Africa, or just under 5 percent of the population. However, this figure is believed to be understated, as there are many unauthorised immigrants, mainly from neighbouring countries. So what rights do foreigners have in South Africa when it comes to claims against the Road Accident Fund (RAF), the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and in cases of medical negligence?
Legal vs. illegal foreigners in South Africa and personal injury claims
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) in South Africa provides insurance coverage for all road users in the country, regardless of their immigration status. This includes compensation for injuries or deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents. All persons who are not citizens or permanent residents of the Republic or who do not have a valid permit or visa issued under the relevant legislation are entitled to compensation from the RAF if they have a valid claim.
How to claim from the RAF if you are a foreigner
If you have been involved in a car accident and want to file a claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) as a foreigner, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The procedure is the same if you are a South African citizen.
First, you will need to submit some forms with your personal information and details about the accident and the vehicles and people involved. You will be asked to show some form of identification and papers showing your status, such as your application for asylum. This may be a valid or expired work visa, asylum documents, or even applications for these documents to show what attempts you have made to legalise your status in South Africa.
You will also need to indicate how much money you are seeking in damages. Other evidence you will also need to provide is a doctor’s report and an affidavit that includes police reports and witness statements. Once all this information is provided, the RAF will consider the legitimacy of your claim.
As a foreign national, why should you hire a lawyer?
The amount of compensation you receive from the Road Traffic Accident Fund depends on several factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the impact of the accident on your life, and the cost of treating your injuries in the future. As a client of Adendorff Attorneys Inc, having your injuries and personal situation evaluated by a team of medical and financial experts will help secure a higher payout than the RAF is likely to offer as a settlement. Because we are “no win, no fee” attorneys, the cost of these evaluations and any attorney fees will only be paid if and when you receive compensation.
Many foreigners in South Africa, especially asylum seekers, are exploited by employers. They may be paid “unofficially” in cash or not given employment contracts or payslips. This makes calculating and proving future loss of earnings in an RAF case very difficult. In previous cases involving foreign clients, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. has gone to great lengths to obtain these records so that we could help our clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
There is also no guarantee that you will be able to communicate in your preferred language when applying with the RAF. This can make it challenging to provide the necessary information to support your claim without the help of a personal injury attorney.
Claiming for a train accident injury or medical negligence claims as a foreigner in South Africa
You may be entitled to compensation if you are injured in a train accident in South Africa. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is responsible for investigating claims and awarding compensation. Similarly, suppose you are a foreign national who received medical treatment in South Africa and suffered a severe injury or disability due to negligence. In that case, you can seek compensation from the doctor or the Department of Health. These cases would fall under “general litigation” in the South African court system.
If you are a foreign national with legal status in South Africa, contact Adendorff Attorneys Inc., and we will discuss your legitimate claim and the steps to be taken. However, if you are in South Africa as an “illegal” immigrant, you can still be allowed to claim in court, but you will need to make a greater effort to assert your rights as a non-citizen in a South African court. It is much more difficult, but with the assistance of an experienced and specialised personal injury law firm such as Adendorff Attorneys Inc., it is possible, and many of our foreign clients have obtained substantial settlements with our approach.
Are you a foreign national needing help with an RAF or other personal injury case?
If you are a foreign national who has been injured in South Africa and would like to file a claim, our team at Adendorff Attorneys Inc. can help. We will review your claim, gather evidence, and represent you in all court proceedings. With our experienced team on your side, you have the best chance of receiving the total amount of compensation you deserve.