Thousands of claims are lodged with the Road Accident Fund each year and while many of them do actually get paid out, a good number do not. Various reasons owe to this phenomena and despite efforts by the Road Accident Fund to conduct public awareness and road shows to educate the public, many claims still get rejected due to not meeting the requirements.
A Road Accident Fund claim prescribes after 3 years from the date of the incident, and after that the claimant loses their legal right to claim unless justifiable and sufficient reasons are tendered to motivate the delay. Where the accident involved a hit and run vehicle and the details of which are not known to the claimant, such a claim prescribes after 2 years. Where the claimant is a minor, they must be assisted by their guardian to claim, but otherwise should the minor have to claim on their own then the prescription will start to run on the day they turn 18 years. Owing to the technical nature of prescription, a good number of otherwise good claims are turned down each year.
In March 2021 the Chief Executive Officer of the Road Accident Fund issued a directive to the effect that no claims will be accepted without all the required documents as this is contributing to the Fund having so many files that cannot be considered but kept gathering dust in their office. The aim of this directive is to have claims that do not have all the required documents to remain with the claimants or their attorneys unless and until all the required documents are obtained so that once lodged with the RAF claims can be considered within the 120 day period.
Despite it being a somewhat noble move, it faces a few legal and practical shortcomings as it infringes on the rights of claimants to lodge their claims as soon as possible. Some documents take long to be released by the issuing institutions such as police reports, expert reports and hospital medical reports. This then means due to the delays experienced in these public institutions, a claimant will be prevented from lodging their claim with RAF in that meanwhile. Secondly, such a directive may only be issued by the relevant Minister being the Minister of Transport and not the Chief Executive Officer of RAF. Further, such directive must be gazetted.
Despite the aforementioned, it is the responsibility of the claimant and/or their authorised agent to furnish the Road Accident Fund with all the documents in support of the claim. It is trite that where damages are claimed by any claimant, proof of such damages must be furnished so that the Road Accident Fund may quantify, file proof and record accordingly in their accounting records before any payment can be considered for those alleged damages. Before any damages are proven, they remain not established and therefore the Road Accident Fund may not consider such a claim until all documents of proof are furnished.
As a creature of statute and state organ, the Road Accident Fund is obliged to conduct such diligence as is necessary under the circumstances on each claim they handle before considering settling the claim. As part of this, the claim handler may request further and such documents as are necessary in order to complement proof of the claim and the accident that gave rise to such claim. Some claimants do actually resort to fraudulent means to lodge claims with the Road Accident Fund either by submitting fraudulent documents or misrepresenting the sequence of events to suit their favour. Upon investigations the Road Accident Fund may reject a claim in the event that they possess adequate reason to believe that the claim was lodged fraudulently and, may refer the matter to the NPA to prefer fraud charges against the alleged fraudsters.
Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Road Accident Fund Attorneys in Johannesburg and Cape Town
The unfortunate situations mostly result where claimants opt to lodge and handle the claims on their own without adequate information and assistance. Engaging the services of an especially dedicated attorney at Van Deventer and Van Deventer Attorneys will ensure that your claim stands a better chance of success.
Our able and capable Attorneys possess extensive experience and expertise in Road Accident Fund claims.
Contact us for comprehensive assistance.
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