Road transport is undoubtedly one of the most common means of transport within South Africa. Unfortunately, just like anywhere else, the roads in the country are beguiled by accidents which affect the economically-viable as well as productive citizens who play a crucial role in the country’s economy. The shroud of accidents would be darker if the duty of compensating the road carnage victims was left in the hands of the private sector.
To make sure those citizens and other people who get affected by the road accidents are adequately compensated though, the government set up the Road Accidents Fund. This fund provides insurance coverage to all road users in South Africa. However, apart from providing insurance cover to road users, RAF has also acted as a major employment provider for South Africans pursuing different careers.
The Legal Implementation of RAF
Before 1996, the compulsory insuring of road users in South Africa was enshrined in three main legislature Acts. There was the Motor Vehicle Insurance Act of 1942, the Compulsory Motor Vehicle insurance of act of 1972 (popularly known as Act No 56 of 1972) and the motor vehicle accident act of 1986. These legislatures have been going modifications from time to time and have formed the basis of the present day laws that govern the road accident insurance policies in the present day.
The Act that governs RAF today is a buildup on the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 as amended and gazetted in 2005, 2008 and 2011. The Road Accident Act Of 1996 provided that most victims of road accidents could claim full compensation for injuries suffered during the accident. However, there was a limitation on section 18 of the 1996 Act that hindered certain parties from claiming compensation up to a certain amount. Passengers in a taxi could, for example, not claim compensation above R25, 000 if the accident in question was as a result of the taxi drivers negligence.
Road Accident Fund Act of 2005
In 2005, the Road Accident Fund act of 1996 was amended. While enacting the Road Accident Fund Act of 2005, the legislators argued that the limitations put on the previous Act were overly discriminatory on certain groups of people, especially the poor and the middle-income earners, who needed the fund more. The 2005 Act abolished the provision of the Road Accident Fund Act of 1996 and replaced them with more generous and all-claimants-inclusive limits. The constitutional court upheld these amends.
This Act removed the limitations on passenger claims, exclusion on the members of the same family, and the passenger for payout on motorcycle. Additionally, the Act reinstated that payments should only be made on serious injuries.
The Road Accident Fund Act of 2008
This new Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 as amended in 2005 however relates to causes of action commencing after its full implementation on August 1, 2008. The claimants whose cases arose before this date were still pegged by the limitations capped on the 1996 Road Accident Fund Act 56, section 18, which had been repelled as being unfair and discriminatory.
On February 17, 2011, a constitutional court in deciding a case against Myumyu versus the Minister of Transport and another defendant finally struck down in totality the provisions of section 18 of the Road Accident Fund. Fortunately, these findings were never disputed by the Minister of Transport or the Fund.
During all the various steps of amending the Acts, the continued existence of the RAF and easing the road accident fund claims payouts as well as making them widely available has been cited. The fund is now more streamlined to cater for the general populace of South Africa.
Who Owns RAF
The Road Accident Fund was established by the RAF Act and is wholly owned by the people of the Republic of South Africa. It is listed like all other public goods under the public entity. Although it is owned by the people, the job of overseeing it is placed partly in the hands of a National Assembly Committee, the Minister of Transport and the Board of RAF.
The national assembly makes the legislation governing RAF and oversees the executive authority of the Road Accidents Fund of South Africa while the transport Portfolio Committee that is chipped out of the National Assembly, makes sure that services are delivered and the performance of the Fund is optimal and in accordance with the set laws.
The minister of Transport is the main executive officer of the Road Accident Fund. He mainly checks to assess financial viability of the fund as well as the risks the fund may run into in the future. He also makes the policies governing the fund and ensures that they are fully implemented. This includes making sure that all Road Accident Funds claims are paid on time.
The board of directors of the fund plays the role of accountancy. It is directly answerable to the Minister of Transport for the performance of the entity.
Where Does the Fund Get Money to Pay the Road Accident Fund Payouts
The fund gets most of its revenue from a levy that is charged on motorists in the country at all the major fuelling stations. This is the money that is used to settle the road accident fund payouts to the victims of road accidents. The fund has been a major lifeline for families whose lives would have been completely altered after a grisly road accident.
Loosening regulations on the funds payout has however imparted greatly on the road accident fund. The fact that anyone using the south African roads, even if they have been in the country for only a few hours, can claim for a payout after an accident has put a constrain on the funds. This has meant low road accident fund claims payouts to South African road accident victims who may be in dire need of the payout.
Unscrupulous road accident fund claims lawyers in Cape Town and elsewhere has also added to the woes of the Fund. This was the case during the 2010 world cup, when the fund made a lot of payouts to foreigners, most of them suffering from only minor whiplash injuries.
To make the road accident fund more effective, it will be necessary to rethink which category of injuries or loss of income should be claimed. Whether foreigners entering the country are eligible to payouts from the road accident fund should also be debated. And finally, road accident fund attorneys should be encouraged on the importance of being honest.
Procedure for Placing Road Accident Fund Claims in South Africa
It is highly recommended that you launch a claim with the Road Accident Fund claims department immediately when an accident occurs. This is especially imperative if someone has been injured or killed in the accident. Though it is as easy to personally file for a claim from the Road Accident Fund claims department, it is recommended that you contract a Road Accident Fund claims attorneys to get you through the loopholes. The Fund is however not responsible for paying attorneys that you hire to assist you.
One of the essentials you will have to keep in mind for your own safety is the road accident claims contact details. This will help you to make contact with them as soon as an accident happens. Not only should you keep the Road Accident Fund claims in Johannesburg or Cape Town addresses but also for other major and smaller towns in SA where you frequent.
If you do not know the details of the contact details of a claims department in another city, a little time spent researching on the internet will pay you dividends. Searching, say for, “Road Accident Fund claims Durban” will take you the page that deals with settling claims and Road Accident Fund claims payouts in Durban.
Whether you plan to use Road Accident Fund claims attorneys or to file the claim personally, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the process of filing the road accident claim forms. One of the requirements that many people fail to adhere to is the duration within which to file a claim. For example, if you know the person who caused the accident, then you have a duration of up to three years to fill the Road Accident Fund claims forms. In case you do not know the liable person, then you have up to two years to do the same.
After reporting the accident, you will need to get the Road Accident Fund claims form from the road accident claims offices in South Africa or download them from their website. Make sure that you fill in the forms in totality, sign them and have them also signed by the medic who attended to you after the accident.
Anyone who was involved in the accident can file the road accident fund claims form. These include the driver, passenger or pedestrian. Drivers who are the cause of the accident can however not make a claim. Children under the age of 18 years must be represented by the parent or an attorney.
The next step will be to wait for the road accident fund claims department to carry out the relevant investigations. After the investigations, court proceedings may begin during which time the amount of payout to be issued is discussed. It is advisable to have a road accident fund claims attorney at this stage (and every other stage) as they are more versed with the workings of the judicial system.
Choosing the road accident fund claims attorney
Every single year, more than 50,000 accidents occur on South African roads. Compensation for those injured in the accidents or to the dependants of those killed is affordable through the Road Accident Fund claims payouts. Many others however go unpaid due to ignorance and lack of a proper attorney to represent the victims. To be on the safe side, you should choose a reliable Road Accident Fund claims attorney to represent you.
Dealing with an attorney is always recommended when filling the Road Accident Fund claims forms in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban or elsewhere. The road accidents fund is a complex Act and is always changing.
You are bound to find a Road Accident Fund claims lawyer in many of the major cities in South Africa including Durban, Gauteng, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Make sure that the Road Accident Fund that you choose to represent has a good reputation and capability to represent you.
The attorneys you choose to represent you should also be familiar with the various Acts that deal with the road accidents fund. These include the Road Accident Fund article 56 of 1997 amended, the road accident fund Act of 2005 and the Road Accident Fund Act of 2008. Having a deeper background understanding of the various legislations, will help a road accident fund claims lawyer more competent.
Many lawyers also do not need payments before the final settlement. Your budget should of course dictate the road accident fund lawyer to engage. While some are relatively cheap, others may charge you a leg and an arm to handle your case. The big cities like Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town will have a mixture of expensive, moderate and cheap attorneys. Choosing one should therefore not be that difficult.
Road Accident Claims Payouts
The common question that many people who are in need of the road accident claims payouts in South Africa ask is what the duration it takes to process the payouts is. Although there is no specific time frame within which a payout is to be made, it is important to note that the process of applying for Road Accident Funds claims from Durban or elsewhere is rather complicated. The Fund however has up to 120 days to do thorough investigations about the claim out, after which the legal process can begin.
The other perturbing question is whether it is possible to file claims with the Road Accident Fund claims department from any of the major towns where they have representatives. As long as the branch is a legal representative of the Road Accident Fund claims department, chances are that they will allow you to lodge the complaint with them.
Basically, ensure that you have filled your road accident claims forms, lodged them with the Road Accident Fund claims department and engaged reliable Road Accident Fund claims attorneys as soon as the accident happens. You will also need to make sure that you have all the requisite documents that will be needed during the process of Road Accident Fund claims in SA. Some of the documents include:
- A medical report from the doctor who attended to you
- A police charge sheet
- Legal personal identification documents
- A letter from you employer detailing how much you may have lost in terms of salary due to the accident and any other document that may act as supporting evidence in your case.
Some of the basic claims you can forward during the legal inquest include the monetary damage of property occasioned by the accident, funeral expenses, lost income earnings, compensation for pain or bodily complications and loss of a breadwinner in case the person who was acting as your main breadwinner dies in the accident.
You can file your Road Accident Fund claims from Durban, Johannesburg or any other place where the RAF claims department has an office.
Other Benefits of the Road Accident Fund
Other than the Road Accident Fund claims payouts paid to the victims of road accidents, the fund has been instrumental in other areas too. One of the major benefits that have arisen from the establishment of the Fund is the creation of jobs at Road Accident Fund in South Africa.
What Kind of Jobs are Available at Road Accident Fund in South Africa?
Like every other organization, RAF needs to hire competent staff in order to function properly. There are managerial jobs at careers Road Accident Fund South Africa and the road accident fund vacancies as well as other administrative jobs. Junior and support staffs’ careers are also available at Road Accident Fund in Durban and other parts of South Africa. To know what type of jobs at Road Accident Fund in South Africa is available, it is important to think of it as if it was just but another equal opportunity insurance company. This will give you a range of options starting right from the all-important Road Accident Fund claims attorneys to office cleaners.
To qualify for some of the best paying careers at Road Accident Fund in South Africa, you will need to take the necessary education courses. For example, to qualify as a Road Accident Fund claims attorney in Durban, you will have to go through law training. Same case applies to people who may want to take up administrative positions in the Road Accident Fund payouts department.
Jobs at road accident fund are awarded according to meritocracy. This means that the organization is an equal opportunities employer and does not favor certain persons based on religion, race or nationality.
The Road accident fund has indeed been a road accident fund claims attorney lifesaver to many families and its benefits outweigh mere payouts compensation. However, to continue operating, drivers and road users need to be careful when using the roads. The road fund payouts cannot also be a substitute for lost human life. There is also a big need for family road accident fund claims lawyers to educate those that they represent on the various handles and intricate details of the fund.