Road Accident Fund Claims: A Step-By-Step Guide
The crazy thing about driving is that every time you decide to get into your car, there is the chance that you might be involved in an accident. The reality is that only around 30 – 35% of car owners in South Africa have third-party insurance, so what happens to the other 65 – 70% of the population if they are injured in a car accident due to a fault not of their own? The remaining people have the option of submitting a Road Accident Fund claim.
Road Accident Fund claims pertain to injuries or fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents that occur within the geographical boundaries of South Africa. You must fill in several forms, including the RAF1, RAF3, and RAF4, and submit these documents with supporting evidence to your nearest RAF office.
Compiling and submitting a Road Accident Fund claim can be daunting. To help you better understand this type of claim, it is a good idea to know what it is, what you can claim, and who can and cannot claim from this fund. Once you have this information, you might feel more confident in being able to submit your claim successfully.
What Is The Road Accident Fund?
The Road Accident Fund is a government-supported fund in South Africa that compensates individuals injured or who have experienced the tragic loss of a family member in a car crash. This fund is governed by the Road Accident Amendment Act 19 of 2005 and aims to assist accident victims in their recovery and alleviate the financial burden resulting from such incidents.
The fund is primarily financed through a fuel levy and provides a vital safety net for those affected by road accidents.
Possible Compensation In Road Accident Fund Claims
If you’ve suffered injuries, losses, or damages due to a road accident, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim from the Road Accident Fund. The fund covers various aspects of your damages, including:
- Medical expenses – including hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, medication expenses, and ongoing medical treatment;
- Loss of income – compensates for the wages or salary you may have lost due to the accident;
- Funeral expenses – are covered in the unfortunate event of a loved one’s death;
- General damages – are non-quantifiable losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of amenities of life;
- Loss of support – compensates for dependents of deceased victims who relied on the deceased for financial aid.
Who Cannot Claim From The Road Accident Fund?
While the Road Accident Fund aims to support accident victims, there are specific cases where individuals may not be eligible to claim, and the fund does not cover accidents outside South Africa’s borders.
The claimant cannot be the sole cause of the collision or the only vehicle involved. Additionally, incidents involving only property damage, without any bodily injuries, are not eligible for compensation.
It also does not cover the responsible party, meaning you will not be covered if you caused the accident through your negligence. Nevertheless, in cases where you bear partial responsibility for the accident, you could still qualify for a reduced compensation amount, as determined by the principle of comparative negligence.
Who Is Eligible To Make Claims With The Road Accident Fund?
The Road Accident Fund is available to many individuals affected by road accidents, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and the dependents of deceased victims.
The key criterion for eligibility is that the accident resulted from another party’s negligence or wrongful conduct. The responsible party doesn’t need to be insured, as the RAF acts as a substitute for insurance coverage in cases where the responsible party is uninsured or cannot be identified.
How Do Make A Road Accident Fund Claim?
You must adhere to the correct procedures to make a Road Accident Fund claim successfully. Below is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to assist you in navigating through the process:
- Step 1: Report the accident: Notify the police within 24 hours of the accident and ensure you obtain a case number. This step is crucial in documenting the occurrence and creating an official record.
- Step 2: Seek medical attention: Get appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. This step is vital for your health and well-being and for gathering evidence of your injuries. Keep all medical records, bills, and receipts related to your treatment, as they will be essential for your claim.
- Step 3: Obtain the RAF1 form: Download the RAF1 form, the official claim form available on the Road Accident Fund’s website. The RAF1 form collects detailed information about the accident, your injuries, and the damages you claim.
- Step 4: Submit the RAF1 form: Complete the RAF1 form accurately and attach all the required supporting documents, such as the police report, medical records, and receipts. It is advisable to keep copies of all the documents you submit. Submit the form and documents to the Road Accident Fund within three years of the accident if the responsible party is known to you and two years if the responsible party is unknown.
- Step 5: Await an acknowledgment letter: After submitting your claim, the Road Accident Fund will send you an acknowledgment letter within 14 days. This letter confirms the receipt of your claim and provides you with a reference number for future correspondence.
- Step 6: Assessment and investigation: The Road Accident Fund will assess your claim and conduct investigations to determine the extent of your injuries and losses. This process may involve consultations with medical professionals, reviewing medical reports, and evaluating other supporting evidence.
- Step 7: Settlement negotiations: If your claim is successful, the Road Accident Fund will negotiate a settlement with you or your legal representative. These negotiations aim to reach a fair and reasonable compensation amount based on the extent of your injuries, financial losses, and other relevant factors.
Important Forms You Might Need For Your Claim
Throughout the claim process, certain forms are crucial for submission. Here are the essential documents you will encounter:
- RAF1 form: This is the initial claim form to be completed and submitted to the Road Accident Fund. This form captures the essential details of the accident and your damages.
- RAF2 form: The RAF2 form is the supplier claim form.
- RAF3 form: The RAF3 form is the accident report form.
- RAF4 form: The RAF4 form is the serious injury assessment report form.
- Police report: The official accident report obtained from the police. This report provides crucial information about the accident, the parties involved, and any citations or charges filed.
- Medical records and receipts: You should keep any documentation related to your injuries and treatment, such as medical reports, bills, and receipts. These documents substantiate your medical expenses and support your compensation claim.
- Power of attorney: If you appoint a legal representative, a power of attorney form may be required. This document authorizes your representative to act on your behalf during the claim process.
Claiming from the Road Accident Fund can be a complex process, but by understanding the fund’s purpose, the types of claims you can make, and following the step-by-step guide provided, you can navigate the process successfully.
If you’ve been involved in a road accident, please don’t hesitate to explore your options and protect your rights. Seeking professional legal advice from Burnett Attorneys & Notaries can significantly assist you throughout this journey.
Our team understands that such cases can be emotionally and physically draining, and we strive to ensure that we get you the best possible outcome every time. If you want to discuss how we can help you with your Road Accident Fund claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.