An update on the amendments to the Road Accident Fund in South Africa.
At the time of drafting this article, the RAF is in the final process of amending the general damages pay-outs to road accident victims. This means that victims of road accidents will no longer get a pay-out for general damages. General damages are paid to people for what is known as ‘pain and suffering’ and can include trauma. Below is very brief summary of the RAF changes in near future.
The proposed changes: Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill
In 2005 general damages claims were limited to serious pain and suffering only. Now the RAF plans to drop these pay-outs altogether. The RAF also plans to setup a standard medical tariff for medical costs and adjusting its pay-outs to be made on a monthly basis, instead of a lump sum.
A draft bill called RABS for Road Accident Benefit Scheme will change the process of Road accident fund claims substantially. The reasons behind the draft bill includes the rise in fraudulent claims which has hurt the RAF, and the fact that it has a R215bn liability. RABS seeks to lower costs of legal cases against the RAF significantly.
While this bill has been touted as a shift in approach from the RAF as insurance fund to a social-security benefit system, mismanagement cannot be ignored and the RAF should be under more scrutiny.
A well-meaning amendment bill which benefits lower-income people more than higher-income people is not a bad thing, but the RAF should be held more accountable with stricter people management, systems, checks and balances to manage an entity that has such an important mandate.
This is not a political article so let’s get on with how you claim from the RAF in 2019, until the new bill is ratified by Parliament.
What does this mean for any claim you may have against the RAF?
You will need to join the queue of existing Road accident fund claims to be paid out; expect a wait as RAF claims can take up to seven years to settle. In addition, you could possibly be facing a legal battle ahead.
Who can claim from the RAF?
Any driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist involved in an accident can claim from the RAF – except where the injured person is 100% to blame for the accident.
In addition, a dependent of a deceased person may make a claim – except where the deceased person is 100% to blame for the accident.
Both South African citizens and foreigners are covered by the fund.
In the future the new RAF Benefit Scheme will change the RAF from a fault system to a no-fault basis, similar to other social-security funds in SA. This simply means that even if you were at fault or partly at fault you can claim compensation.
Who cannot claim from the RAF?
The driver or the owner of the vehicle who was 100% responsible for the accident
The driver or the owner of the vehicle where they were the only person involved in the accident.
For example, you crashed into a wall or other obstacle and injured yourself, and nothing else contributed to the accident.
A dependent or family member of a deceased person who was 100% responsible for the accident
It sounds so easy doesn’t it, I am sorry to say it is more complicated than proving you were not at fault. The real strength of your case and pay-out is based on the evidence you submit so that the RAF can assess what remuneration to pay you out.