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The Road Accident Fund (RAF)

The RAF was created to compensate victims who have been involved in road accidents and injured by the negligent driving of another person. The RAF is run by the government and receives its funding from a portion of the fuel levy that all motorists pay when they put petrol in their vehicles.

When can you claim?
You CAN claim if you fall in the following category of persons that was involved in a car accident:

- you were driving a motor vehicle
- you were a pedestrian
- you were a passenger
- you were riding in a taxi / bus - you were riding a bicycle - your minor / child was injured or killed
- a breadwinner in your family was killed

If you fall in one of the above categories and can prove that the accident that you were injured in was not all your fault then you could have a claim against the RAF, but you can not profit from your own negligence.
When can you NOT claim?
you were not injured
- the accident was 100% your fault
- your breadwinner was not killed
- the accident was not anyone's fault
What can I claim from the Road Accident Fund?

General Damages (Pain & Suffering, disfigurement, disability, etc.)
- Past Medical Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Past Loss of Earnings
- Future Loss of Earnings
- Funeral Expenses / Loss of Maintenance

You can not claim material damages (such as damage to your motor vehicle or any material belongings) from the RAF. You will need to claim these specific damages from the person who caused the accident.
What details should you get from the other parties if you were involved in an accident?

- Full names, ID numbers, Address (work & home), telephone numbers (work & home) and vehicle registration number(s) of all drivers, passengers and witnesses
- Description of Vehicle(s) and Driver(s)
- Details of Police, Traffic and Ambulance Officials
- Details of Tow Truck Personnel
- If possible, try sketch the scene of the accident (with names of roads & intersections) / Take photos of scene of accident (If possible use a cellphone)
What should you do immediately after you have been in an accident?

- Report the Accident to the SAPS immediately, if you are the driver the law obliges you to report the accident within 24 hours, but if you are badly injured then do so at the first reasonable opportunity (If you can't, get somebody that you know to do it). Make sure to retain the case number.
- Go to a doctor / hospital immediately and make sure that they record your visit, your injuries & the treatment given (Always keep these medical bills and statements and reference numbers)
- If you have been involved in a Hit & Run, make sure to physically hand in an affidavit of how the accident happened at the Police Station where you have reported the Accident within 14 Days of the Accident or if you are badly injured, within 14 days after being able to do so and also keep a copy thereof
What information will you need to submit when doing the claim or seeing an attorney who will claim on your behalf?

- (Police) Officer's Accident Report (OAR) or SAPS collision report (SAP 352)
- Witness statements taken by the Police - Hospital / Medical / Clinical Records - Details of Medical Practitioners / Institutions that treated you
- All hospital medical accounts (remember to pay the accounts, even if you claim)
- Details of any material damages claim against the driver and the outcome thereof

*Please Note: Your Attorney will normally acquire the above information on your behalf.
How much time do you have to institute a claim against the RAF?

- You may lose your claim if you wait too long!
- You should contact an attorney immediately after being in an accident, usually within 3 years but the sooner the better, to establish whether you have a claim or not and so that the attorney can start getting all the vital information that is needed for your claim to succeed. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get the evidence and the more you forget.
- In the event that you have all the details of the person who caused the accident, you will then have a period of 3 years to institute a claim.
- In the event that you do not have all the details of the person who caused the accident (Hit-&-Run accident) then you will have a period of 2 years to institute a claim. (Provided that you have handed in an affidavit at the police within 14 days of the accident occurring).
- These time periods are known as prescription.
- A parent can claim on behalf of a minor so you don't have to wait until you are 21 to claim. For minors the prescription periods can differ.
How long will your claim take?

Claims against the RAF are known to take up to 5 years or more to finalize but that all depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

How much do you have to pay an Attorney in order to claim from the RAF?

There are normally two ways in which fees are levied:
1) In terms of a Fee Agreement; OR
2) On a Contingency Basis.

Attorneys can differ when it comes to charging a client but normally the attorney will agree not to take their costs for doing the work for you until you are paid out by the RAF (This means that you will not have to pay the attorney any money until the claim is finalized in the event of your claim being successful).

Always discuss this with your attorney first.
Road Accident Fund Claims

What is now known as a Road Accident Fund Claim, was previously known as a Third Party Claim. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) exists to assist individuals who require assistance with regards to claims against the actions of a person who causes an accident.

Victims of road accidents often approach the Road Accident Fund without realizing that they would receive much more professional assistance and legal support from an Attorney's firm that has extensive experience with the claim process. Although the Road Accident Fund theoretically claims that they provide cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa for incidents arising from the use of motor vehicles, the process becomes timely, impersonal and extremely costly.

Making use of the services of an Attorney's firm that specializes in Road Accident Fund Claims and has the necessary experience in personal injury cases. Be aware that the Road Accident Fund has been known to dispute cases on numerous occasions and for various reasons, do not be caught off guard. Claims against the Road Accident Fund are made up of numerous elements, the most well known of which is general damages. The majority of people would call this a claim for pain and suffering. The Road Accident Fund pays out a minimum for these claims, based on previous case law, generally lower than R50,000.00.

Bearing in mind that the economic climate is currently suffering, most people tend to try to save legal costs by claiming against the Road Accident Fund themselves, thus doing themselves greater harm as the Road Accident Fund is ill-equipped to tend to claims against itself. An experienced Attorney who handles your claim against the Road Accident Fund for personal injuries suffered, will secure your claim against the "Fund" thus ensuring that you are compensated for your injury/pain and suffering/medical expenses — current and future/loss of income.

Most Attorneys will take on your case for you on a contingency basis (no win/no fee), so there is nothing for you to lose.
Bail Applications

In terms of section 38 of the Criminal ProcedureAct , there are three different methods in which any person may be brought before Court for purposes of his or her trail. The three different methods are:

1. Summons to appear before a certain court on a specific date, OR written notice to appear at a certain place on a specific date.
2. Indictment to appear in a Superior Court on a specific date.
3. Arresting the accused in order to charge him and to bring him before court.

This article focuses on point 3 above and the import role that bail applications play when someone has been arrested.

There are broadly speaking three forms of bail, namely:
1. Police Bail: Bail may be granted at the police station by certain police officials if the accused has been arrested for a minor offence.
2. Prosecutor: Bail may be granted by an authorised prosecutor at the police station if the accused has been arrested for a schedule 7 offence.
3. Bail Applications in Court: In all other instances an application for bail will have to be made in Court. Thus, the specific form of bail that will be applicable in a particular case will depend on the specific offence that a person is arrested for and charged with

Our firm strives to assist our clients in all three forms of bail applications as explained above. We are here to walk the criminal procedure path with you from the start to the very end and to provide you with the best service that we can offer. A criminal trail can be a very stressful and emotional experience and our firm will stand by you through the difficult times.