Road Accident Fund: All you need to know

Instead of spending large sums of money on litigation fees, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has encouraged road accident claimants to approach the Road Accident Fund (RAF) directly.

Using lawyers can be costly and often results in a large chunk of the money intended for the victim being spent on litigation fees instead of their maintenance, Minister Maswanganyi said.

The Minister was speaking at the department's festive season campaign launch in Bela-Bela, township, in Limpopo.

The Minister also handed over a wheel chair to Letlhogonolo Chokwe, a RAF beneficiary who was involved in a car accident in 1989. She was hit by a car as a pedestrian and lost her ability to walk.

They [Road Accident Fund] has really assisted me with compensation, everything I need like the wheelchair, crutches and the chair I use in the shower, they bought them for me. Whenever I need help they assist me, said Chokwe.

The Minister said RAF officials are available all over the country and are also strategically placed at hospitals to assist those who may have been involved in accidents.

You often find that we as transport have to go through lengthy court processes to ensure the beneficiaries receive their money when they make use of a lawyer, said Minister Maswanganyi.

The efficiency of RAF is therefore a crucial component to deliver services to all road users.

We are grateful that the Road Accident Fund is improving its administration of funds to the beneficiaries, said the Minister.

RAF is an agency established by an Act of Parliament, namely, the Road Accident Fund Act, 1996. It provides appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa. It rehabilitates and compensates persons injured as a result of motor vehicles.

People can follow these steps to make a claim:

How to claim

The first step in claiming from the RAF is to gather all the necessary documents. The documents required to launch a claim with the RAF are:

The police report and case number of the accident.

All your relevant personal details as well as those of any other person involved in the accident.

All medical documents supporting the claim of injuries incurred.

Any motivating testimony from medical and/or legal experts, as well as witness testimony.

Any relevant information pertaining to the accident such as damages to vehicle/s and/or surrounding structures and most importantly, the official RAF forms are required.

Who may 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.

A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent, legal guardian or curator ad litem.

What is the time period in which a person can claim?

Identified claims (claims where the identity of the driver or owner of the guilty motor vehicle is known) must be lodged with the Fund within 3 years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within 5 years from the date of accident.

Hit and Run claims (claims where the identity of the driver or owner of the guilty motor vehicle is unknown) must be lodged with the Fund within 2 years from the date of the accident and must be finalised within 5 years from the date of accident.

Claims in terms of an undertaking certificate issued in terms of section 17(4)(a)(ii) of the Act must be lodged and finalised within 5 years from the date on which services were rendered to the injured.

Who may submit a claim to RAF?

The claimant or a representative and/or the supplier can submit claims in terms of the undertaking.

In the event of the supplier, written request is required before the assessed liability can be reimbursed.

Source: South African Government News Agency