Road Accident Fund, all you need to know

The claim is lodged on a prescribed statutory claim form (Form 1 is to be used in respect of claims arising prior to 01 August 2008 and RAF 1 from 01 August 2008 onwards) which provides basic information on the claimant, the vehicles and parties involved in the collision, the date and place of accident and the amounts claimed. It also contains a medical report by the treating doctor.
This claim form is accompanied by an affidavit setting out the following:

Full particulars of the accident,
Statements of witnesses,
Police reports,
Hospital and medical records,
Vouchers and documents in support of amounts claimed.

The drivers of the vehicles involved in the collision must furnish details of the accident to the RAF on a statutory accident report form (Form 3 is to be used in respect of claims arising prior to 01 August 2008 and RAF 3 from 01 August 2008 onwards) together with information of witnesses which the RAF may request.

Once a claim is submitted, the RAF registers it on its claim system and commences with its investigations.
The RAF determines whether the claim is valid (i.e. was there a road accident, does it comply with statutory provisions, was it submitted in time, etc.) and what the merits of the case are (i.e. the degree of fault, blame or negligence to be ascribed to the drivers of the vehicles and the claimant respectively). The quantum is also determined (i.e. the amount of the damages or losses suffered).
If a claim is incomplete, the RAF calls for additional information and supporting documentation to enable it to better assess the matter.
If the claim arose after the 31 July 2008 and general damages are claimed, a Serious Injury Assessment Report (RAF 4) must be submitted to the RAF confirming that the injury sustained is serious for the purposes of the Act.

Download the RAF1 Form directly HERE
WHO IS ENTITLED TO MAKE A CLAIM?

The following are entitled to make a claim:

A person who sustained a bodily injury in the accident (except a driver who was the sole cause of the accident).
A dependent of a deceased breadwinner.
A close relative of the deceased who paid for the funeral and
A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent, legal guardian.

See the Claims Procedure section for detailed information on submitting a claim.

WHO CAN CLAIM FROM THE FUND?

You can claim if you were injured in the accident.
Your dependents can claim if you were killed in the accident.
You can claim if you were involved in an accident as a driver, a passenger or a pedestrian.

There is only a claim if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligent driving. You cannot claim if you caused the accident. You also can’t claim if you were the only person and vehicle involved in the accident, for example if you drove into a pole.

If you were the driver in the accident but are not the owner of the car and the accident was caused by the owner of the car’s negligence (for example, if they didn’t fix the brakes) and you are injured, then you can claim from the fund.

WHAT CAN YOU GET MONEY FOR?

If you are injured in an accident, you can claim for:

your medical expenses.
funeral expenses.
compensation for pain, suffering and disfigurement.
lost earnings.
Claims for loss of support – If the breadwinner in the family dies in an accident caused by someone else, then the dependants of that person can claim for loss of support.

If you were partly responsible for the accident then you can still claim but you will only receive a portion of the damages. For example, if you were 50% responsible, then you will only get 50% of the damages. If you were 25% responsible, then you will get 75% of the damages.

You cannot claim for damage done to your vehicle or property. To get money for this, you need to sue the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident. If they have insurance, their insurance will pay you. If they don’t have insurance, they will have to pay you personally.

WHAT IS NEGLIGENCE?

Only accidents caused by someone else’s negligence can give rise to claims from the Fund. So you need to prove that someone else was negligent. You do this by proving that the driver did not drive their vehicle in a way in which a reasonable driver would have driven in the circumstances.

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU CLAIM FOR?

If you were not in the vehicle that caused the accident, there is no limit to the damages you can claim from the Road Accident Fund.

If you or your breadwinner was a passenger in the car which caused the accident, you cannot claim more than R25 000 altogether. You can only claim back money that you have spent or will spend because of the accident, for example hospital and doctor’s bills that you have paid.

If you or your breadwinner was a paying passenger or if you were in the car because of work, you can only claim R25 000, but you can sue the negligent driver for any money over that. You cannot sue your employer, however.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A CLAIM TO BE PROCESSED?

Claiming from the Fund is a complicated process and the Fund has a lot of claims to handle, so it can take a long time for your money to be paid out. The Fund has 120 days to investigate the matter after the claim has been lodged, before the final proceedings can go ahead.