Do you have questions about the South African Road Accident Fund (RAF)? Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Read the most common questions about Road Accident Fund Claims, and contact us if you have any more questions and would like to book a free consultation for your valid claim.
1. What is a road accident claim against the RAF?
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is a special fund that pays compensation to victims of road accidents who have suffered bodily injuries caused by a negligent driver. The cover extends to all road users within the borders of South Africa and applies not only to South Africans but also to foreigners or tourists who are injured in our country.
2. Who qualifies for an RAF claim?
The RAF provides compensation for South Africans, tourists and foreigners involved in accidents on South African roads.
3. Who can claim from the RAF?
Persons seriously injured as a result of a road accident, may claim from the RAF and such persons include:
- Drivers of vehicles, who were not the sole cause of the accident
- Dependants of a breadwinner killed in an accident
4. Who can’t claim from the RAF?
Persons who have been seriously injured as a result of a road accident during the course and scope of their employment should contact the Workmans’ Compensations Fund. These people may include:
- Bus drivers
- Taxi drivers
- Delivery service drivers
5. What circumstances do not allow for a claim from the RAF?
The RAF only compensates persons for their loss or injury but not for property damage. You cannot claim for the following:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to your property as a result of an accident
6. What kind of road accidents can I claim for?
Individuals can claim for road accidents resulting from the following:
- Car accident (whether you were the driver, passenger or pedestrian)
- Bus accident
- Taxi accident
- Cyclist accident
- Motorbike accident
- Pedestrian accident
7. What documents do you need to claim from the Road Accident Fund?
When you claim directly from the RAF, you need a long list of documents, some of which are hard to access. A benefit of working with expert personal injury attorneys like Adendorff Attorneys Inc. is that we will do all the run around for you – we will source all the medical reports, police reports etc. and put together a team of medical experts who will assist us in building your case. When you claim directly from the RAF, you have to pay for all your medical appointments out of your own pocket. But the best part of working with Adendorff Attorneys Inc. is that we cover all your costs.
8. How long does it take to settle a claim with the RAF?
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has a heavy caseload, and the cases they cover can be very complicated. Claims involving serious injuries can take anywhere from 3-5 years to finalise.
9. Once the matter is settled, how long does it take for the Road Accident Fund to payout?
Once the matter is settled, and the court has mandated the settlement payment, we have to allow for 180 days from the court order for payment from the RAF.
10. How much does the Road Accident Fund pay?
Each case is unique, so it is only possible to give people an idea of a settlement value from the RAF with a thorough understanding of the case.
The payout value is based on a number of varying factors such as:
- Extent and severity of injuries
- Employment: were you previously employed; can you work post-accident?
- Medical expenses, past and future
11. What does the RAF pay out for?
The compensation available to such persons does not include the loss relating to the damage to vehicles, clothing or personal effects, but it does include:
- Hospital and medical expenses already incurred
- Hospital and medical expenses that may be incurred in future
- Loss of income
- Loss of income that could arise in future
- General damages for pain and suffering
Should the injury result in the victim’s death, the family members can claim:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial support
12. Can I claim from the RAF after 3 years?
In a hit-and-run accident (when you don’t know the identity of the driver or owner of the motor vehicle or contact details of the person who caused your injury, or they fled the scene of the accident), you are limited to two years to lodge the claim.
In the case of an accident, where you know who the person is that caused your injury and have their contact details (therefore not a hit and run), you have three years to lodge a claim so that the summons can be issued on time.
There are some exceptions to the time limits; however, these pertain mainly to minors (under the age of 18 at the time of the accident), and brain/mental damage.
Apart from exceptional circumstances, all RAF claims where the driver of the other vehicle has been identified must be filed within three years of the accident unless the claimant is a child under the age of 18; they have three years from their eighteenth birthday to file a claim.
13. My child was under the age of 18 when the accident happened. Does the 3-year time limit still apply?
If the person claiming is a minor (under 18 years of age), the prescription period only starts once the victim turns 18. From that point, they have three years to lodge a claim. So if a young child is injured in a hit-and-run or other road accident, they can bring their case to the RAF many years later, once they have turned 18.
14. Can you claim from the RAF without a lawyer?
You can claim directly from the RAF, but we strongly advise that you avoid the disappointment of attempting to claim on your own and rather work with a team of expert personal injury attorneys like Adendorff Attorneys Inc., who have a history of success, a reputation of excellence and winning large settlements for clients.
Claiming directly is problematic for a number of reasons:
- Claiming directly from the RAF will cost you time and money
- Using a lawyer to claim from the RAF will be more convenient
- Claiming directly from the RAF could lead to language barriers
- Using a lawyer to claim from the RAF will make communication easier
- Claiming directly from the RAF, you will have a hard time obtaining the documents you need
- Using a lawyer to claim from the RAF will save you time and money in sourcing documents
- Claiming directly from the RAF will result in a lower settlement payout
- Using a lawyer to claim from the RAF will get you a higher payout
15. What injuries does the RAF classify as “serious”?
Minor injuries with no life impact cannot be claimed for. At Adendorff Attorneys Inc. we only deal with injuries which are deemed as very serious and have a long-term impact on a person’s life, such as their ability to work or earn an income.
It is important to note that serious injuries are not classified by Adendorff Attorneys Inc. but by medical experts. The RAF has to deem every injury as medically serious, or else they will reject the claim.
These are some of the severe life-impacting injuries that the RAF would consider serious:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord or neck injuries
- Any kind of amputation
- Physical disability resulting from the accident, for example paraplegia, quadriplegia or tetraplegia etc.
- 30% whole-body impairment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Long-term mental disorder
- Permanent and disfiguring scars
16. What injuries can not be claimed from the RAF?
- Minor injuries with no life impact cannot be claimed for
- Claims from accidents which took place many years ago
- Claims for damage to property (vehicle damage)
17. Can the RAF reject a claim?
Yes, the RAF often rejects claims, especially when people try to claim directly from the RAF. To avoid this waste of time, money and effort, we advise anyone who has been seriously injured in a road accident to work with an expert team of lawyers to ensure the best possible outcome. We will assist each person who contacts us and evaluate whether they have a possible claim or not and what their next steps should be.
The RAF can also reject a claim if you are 100% the cause of the accident.
18. Does the RAF pay for pain and suffering?
Yes, people involved in road accidents can also claim general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life, such as being physically or mentally impaired.
19. What affects the payout amount for an RAF claim?
The value of a RAF payout will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- If you were solely or partially responsible for causing the accident
- The short and long-term impact of your injuries, as determined by medical experts
- Current and future medical costs associated with your injuries
- The extent of loss of income or support as a direct result of injuries sustained in the accident
It is to be noted that the RAF only pays road accident victims general damages for pain and suffering in cases of serious injuries
20. Are there any RAF claims Adendorff attorneys Inc. does not deal with?
Yes, we do not deal with:
- Minor injuries which have caused no major long-term impact
- Claims from accidents which took place many years ago (there are some exceptions)
- Funeral claims
21. What are the RAF’s responsibilities on the roads?
The RAF is responsible for: providing appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa; rehabilitating and compensating persons injured as a result of motor vehicles in a timely and caring manner; and actively promoting the safe use of all South African roads.
22. My child was killed in a car accident. Can I claim from the RAF?
Should the injury result in the child’s death, the family members can claim for funeral expenses, however, Adendorff Attorneys Inc. does not assist with funeral claims.
23. Can I claim for the death of my spouse?
It is very difficult to lose your partner, let alone the household’s breadwinner. Should a road accident result in your spouse’s death, you as the husband/wife can claim for loss of financial support.
24. Can I claim for the death of my parents or guardian?
The loss of a parent/guardian is very hard on any young child, emotionally and even financially for them and other family members. Should a road accident result in your parent/guardian’s death, a family member can claim for a loss of support if the child is under the age of 21.
25. Can you claim if you are partially responsible for an accident?
If you were 100% responsible for the accident, you would not have a valid claim. However, if you were only partially responsible for the accident, then you could have a valid claim.
26. What happens if the driver flees the accident scene after hitting you or your vehicle?
This type of accident is called a “hit-and-run”. You don’t need to know the identity of the person or be able to locate them for your claim to be valid. In a hit-and-run case, you must file your claim against the RAF within two years of the accident.
Contact Adendorff Attorneys Inc. today for help
Need help with your Road Accident Fund claim? Adendorff Attorneys Inc. can assist you. We have a team of experienced lawyers who specialise in personal injury cases and we operate on a no-win, no-fee basis. Contact us today on 021 122 529 or info@aalaw,co.za to get started on your claim.