Skip to main content
BlogMedical NegligencePersonal InjuryPRASARAFRoad Accident FundThe Passenger Rail Agency of South AfricaTrain Accidents

Can Tourists in South Africa Make Claims for Personal Injury?

By July 4, 2022November 8th, 2022No Comments
Can Tourists Make Personal Injury Claims

No one wants to think about getting injured or sick when planning a trip abroad, but accidents are inevitable as more of us travel each year. If you were injured while travelling in South Africa due to another person’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. 

If you are involved in an accident while travelling, the country’s laws where the accident occurred apply. Therefore, you must seek specialised legal advice. In South Africa, our legal system is based on the principle of fault. This means that the person making a claim (the claimant ) must prove that the other person (the defendant) was at fault – or negligent – before receiving compensation.

Claiming compensation for personal injury with the RAF as a local tourist in South Africa

If you are a local tourist, a South African resident holidaying in a province other than where you reside, your case will be affected by “jurisdiction”. This means that your personal injury case will be heard in a court located in the province where the accident or injury occurred. For this reason, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. offers personal injury representation to our clients on a national level. In the case of a Road Accident Fund (RAF) claim, you can apply for compensation if the accident occurred within the borders of South Africa, and it applies to cyclists, motorcyclists, vehicle drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Claiming compensation in the event of a road accident as an international tourist in South Africa

It is mandatory to purchase travel insurance when applying for a visa to enter South Africa. While this will cover your medical needs if you are involved in a road accident, what happens if you suffer severe injuries on South African roads and are left with a life-changing disability? 

If you are not a South African resident and have been involved in an accident within the country’s borders, you may be eligible for compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). This applies to cyclists, motorcyclists, vehicle drivers, passengers, and pedestrians injured in South Africa. This also applies to international visitors studying or working in South Africa. 

How to claim from the RAF if you are a non-resident of South Africa?

Adendorff Attorneys Inc. can help you as a tourist who has been injured on South African roads. It is best to contact us while you are still in South Africa. You can contact us by email or call our international hotline at +27 (0)21 945 1325. 

If you have a valid personal injury case, our lawyers will make sure we help you get the necessary documentation and medical assistance before you return home. Upon your return, we will continue to communicate with you via video conference and keep you updated on the progress of your claim. 

Here are some of the most common questions our international clients have:

How do I get medical reports for my personal injury case when I am no longer in South Africa?

To substantiate your compensation for an injury sustained in South Africa, specific medical reports for an RAF claim must be provided by doctors who are members of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). 

When possible, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. will arrange for a client to return to South Africa to obtain the necessary medical assessments with our team of medical experts. Assessments that do not require a physical consultation, such as a clinical psychologist, can be conducted via video conferencing. Therefore, we recommend that you contact Adendorff Attorneys Inc. as soon as you are involved in an accident in South Africa so that we can examine you immediately. 

Can I claim if I am a South African citizen but do not live in South Africa? 

Thousands of South Africans live and work abroad and naturally return to their home country to visit friends and family or even stay in their holiday homes. If they have an accident on South African roads during their visit, they can file a claim with the RAF from their country of residence anywhere. 

Can I file my claim directly with the RAF?

If you are a tourist and wish to file a claim with the RAF, you must work with a South African personal injury law firm such as Adendorff Attorneys Inc. The RAF will not contact you directly if you are not a South African resident. We have helped many tourists with personal injury claims in South Africa and have the expertise and experience to ensure that you receive the highest compensation possible. 

Do I have to appear in court in South Africa?

Your attorney at Adendorff Attorneys Inc. will represent you in court regarding your personal injury claim in South Africa. If a judge explicitly requires your presence in court, we will assist you in returning to South Africa. 

Do you charge higher fees for international clients?

No, our rates are the same for South African and international clients. We are “no win, no fee” lawyers, meaning you only pay for our services if your case is successful. You never have to pay out of pocket as our fee is deducted from your final payout.

Claiming compensation for personal injury at PRASA as a tourist in South Africa

If you suffer a severe injury on South African railroad infrastructure property or on or near a train, you may have the right to file a claim with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). 

Such a case would fall under “general litigation” in the South African court system. A tourist has no fixed abode in South Africa and is therefore classified as “non peregrinus” in our courts. 

Several criteria must be met for a non-resident visitor to claim in a South African court. These include being able to prove that you have a fixed address. You must also attend court proceedings in South Africa. As a client of Adendorff Attorneys Inc., we would assist you in this process. You cannot file your claim directly with PRASA but need the assistance of a specialised lawyer based in South Africa, such as Adendorff Attorneys, to assist you in filing your claim. You would need to be in South Africa to make a claim as you will need to appear before a high court in the area (jurisdiction) where the accident occurred. 

Claiming compensation for personal injury due to medical negligence as a tourist in South Africa

As a non-resident of South Africa visiting the country, you must always purchase travel insurance to cover your medical needs. However, medical tourism in South Africa is booming thanks to the high level of medical expertise and lower prices compared to many other countries. This means that “medical tourists” in South Africa seek a range of treatments, including cancer treatments, IVF, specialist dental treatments, plastic surgery and more. 

Since you are “opting in” to these non-emergency treatments, you are always required to sign a consent form, so it is challenging to prove a case of medical negligence if something goes wrong. 

If you are visiting South Africa as a non-medical tourist travelling to South Africa and become ill, seek medical attention and suffer from medical negligence, you can contact a law firm specialising in personal injury cases, such as Adendorff Attorneys Inc., to help you make a claim. However, in emergency medical situations, an alleged victim of medical negligence will have a very difficult task of proving that there was negligence involved. In an emergency, the primary concern is to save your life, and all necessary steps will be taken to accomplish this. If you are left with a disability, you will need to prove that this resulted from unreasonable actions taken by the doctor. 

Need help as a tourist with personal injury claims in South Africa?

In the case of a personal injury claim against the RAF, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. can assist you with your claim. Claims against PRASA and medical negligence are more complex, but if you would like to contact us to discuss a matter, please contact us if you have suffered a severe injury in South Africa. 

Email or call us on our international hotline at +27 (0)21 945 1325.