Road Accident Fund

1. Which Act Applies?

The Road Accident Fund Act, 56 of 1996 applies to all motor vehicle collisions which occurred before 1 August 2008. This Act was replaced by the Road Accident Amendment Act, 19 of 2005 which came into operation on 1 August 2008. On 13 February 2013 the Road Accident Fund Amendment Regulations 2013 came into operation.

It is important to note that each of these Acts have different criteria and requirements for successful claims. There is also different forms and procedures to follow to lodge a claim with the Road Accident Fund.

2. Who can claim from the Road Accident Fund?

Any person who sustained a bodily injury in a motor vehicle accident (except a driver who was the sole cause of the accident), a dependant of a deceased breadwinner and a relative of the deceased who paid for the funeral.  A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent, legal guardian or curator ad litem.

3. What are the time frames in which I must submit my claim?

If your claim is an identified claim (a claim where the identity of the driver or owner of the negligent motor vehicle is known), it must be lodged with the Road Accident Fund within three years from the date of the accident and summons must be issued within five years after the date of the accident.

If  your claim is an unidentified claim (a claim where the identity of the driver or owner of the negligent motor vehicle is unknown), it must be lodged with the Road Accident Fund within two years from the date of the accident and summons must be issued within five years after the date of the accident.

4. Do I need to appoint an attorney to assist me with my claim?

The Road Accident Fund employs information officers at all branches of the Road Accident Fund and they assist claimants free of charge.  It is your choice whether you want to appoint an attorney to assist you.  Should your claim not be settled within the two / three years and summons needs to be issued, you will in any event need to consult an attorney and it is thus to your own benefit to appoint an attorney from the onset.

5. What documents do I need to submit with my claim?

A copy of your identity document, accident report, witness statements, medical and hospital records, medical accounts and proof of earnings.   Should your claim be for loss of support, you also need to submit the idendity document of the deceased, the death certificate or post mortem report, documentary proof of marriage, unabridged birth certificates, proof of earnings of the parties involved and proof of reasonable funeral expenses.  These are the basic documents required but additional documents may be required depending on the circumstances of each case.

6. What happens after my claim was submitted to the Road Accident Fund?

The Road Accident Fund will contact the insured driver and the police in order to make a decision on the merits of the claim.  In some instances they appoint an assessor to assist in that regard.

If the Road Accident Fund accepts liability, it will conduct a quantum investigation to ascertain the correct amount to be paid to the claimant.  This involves verifying amounts claimed as for treatment given by hospitals, doctors etc.  The Road Accident Fund can also appoint experts like actuaries and medical specialists to assist with such estimations.

Should the Road Accident Fund not make a settlement offer in the prescribed time, the claimant’s attorney will issue summons and the matter will proceed to court, where the Magistrate or Judge will make a decision regarding the merits and quantum of the case.  If the claim gets settled, the claimant will have to sign a discharge form to confirm the settlement.

7. Who will pay my attorney’s costs?

In all cases where the Road Accident Fund accepts liability it makes a cost contribution torwards legal fees by paying attorneys their party-and-party costs.  Attorneys are entitled to require deposits beforehand and can also enter into contingency agreements with their clients.  It is best to clarity the question of fees with your attorney beforehand.

1. Which Act Applies

The Road Accident Fund Act, 56 of 1996 applies to all motor vehicle collisions which occurred before 1 August 2008. This Act was replaced by the Road Accident Amendment Act, 19 of 2005 which came into operation on 1 August 2008. On 13 February 2013 the Road Accident Fund Amendment Regulations 2013 came into operation.

It is important to note that each of these Acts have different criteria and requirements for successful claims. There is also different forms and procedures to follow to lodge a claim with the Road Accident Fund.