Involvement in a road accident caused by a negligent driver could cost you everything. Medical expenses, loss of earnings and even funeral expenses can be steep, and if you are the main breadwinner, your family could struggle with money. If you are resident in South Africa, The Road Accident Fund (RAF), established in 1996, is a public fund allowing you to claim compensation and medical expenses if you were involved in an accident caused by a negligent driver. Claiming can be a long process but could help you or your family make ends meet after an accident.
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Things you need
- Medical report
- Inquest report (if applicable)
- Accounts, receipts or vouchers for medical expenses
- Doctor's letter with details of future estimated medical expenses
- Drawing of accident scene
- Police case number and report, with name of station
- Employer's letter with details of lost earnings
- Written consent granting RAF access to hospital records
- Sworn statement from yourself and any witnesses
Check your eligibility to make a claim. You may not claim more than three years after the accident has taken place. If the identity of the car's driver or owner is unknown, you must claim within two years. You can only make a claim if the accident was caused by the negligence of a driver.
Decide if you want to make the claim yourself or use a lawyer. Remember that you will need to pay a lawyer yourself.
Complete the Claim Form (Form 1), which you can obtain from the RAF, ensuring you complete every applicable paragraph. Give the medical section to the doctor who treated you following the accident to fill in. You must include information about the parties involved in the accident, your medical situation (or that of the person you are claiming for, if they were killed in the crash), information about your job and how much you have lost in earnings, statements from witnesses and the police report.
Mail or hand deliver the claim form and the supporting documents to: RAF Offices, 7th Floor, No. 1 Thibault Square, Long Street, Cape Town 8001, Private Bag X28, Roggebaai, 8012.
Tips and warnings
- If you were driving someone else's car and caused the accident, you can claim from the fund if the accident was caused by the owner's negligence (e.g. if they have not maintained the car).
- Remember it may take a long time to get the money even if your claim is successful. The RAF has 120 days to review your claim before proceedings begin, and the process is complex.
- You cannot claim for damage to your car, only for medical expenses, lost earnings and compensation for pain and suffering.
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