Motor vehicle collisions occur on a daily basis in South Africa. With the school holidays approaching, it is important to take note of a few aspects should you and/or your family be involved in a motor vehicle collision.
The question that arises is what can you do when you sustain bodily injuries or suffer loss or damage as a result of the death or bodily injuries of another person when involved in a motor vehicle collision, either as the passenger or as a driver in the vehicle, or when you are hit by an oncoming motor vehicle as a pedestrian and sustain bodily injuries.
The Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 as amended (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) and the regulations promulgated thereunder provide an outcome in the form of compensation to people who suffered damage or loss as a result of the negligent driving of a motor vehicle.
It therefore means that the Fund is only liable to compensate a person once it is established that the bodily injuries or death were caused by the negligence or other wrongful act of the driver or of the owner of the motor vehicle or of his or her employee in the performance of the employee’s duties as employee.
There are a few aspects that you should consider before lodging a claim with the Road Accident Fund. Some of these important aspects are discussed below:
If you sustained bodily injuries or suffered loss as a result of the death or bodily injuries of another as a result of the negligent driving of a motor vehicle there are important considerations to take into account before lodging a claim with the Road Accident Fund, which is whether the driver or owner of the vehicle involved is known or is unknown. Where the identity of the owner or driver of the vehicle is unknown, this type of claim is referred to as a hit-and-run claim.
This is important to establish, as it determines when your claim must be submitted with the Road Accident Fund. In practice, this is normally evident from the Accident Report completed on the day of the accident by the South African Police Service.
After establishing whether the driver or owner of the vehicle is known or unknown, the time period for lodging a claim with the Road Accident Fund must be considered. In order to receive compensation from the Road Accident Fund, your claim must be brought to the Fund’s attention within a certain time frame. These time periods are discussed below:
- In the case where the driver or owner of the vehicle is identified, a claim must be lodged with the Road Accident Fund within 3 years from the date on which the cause of action arose. If a claim is not settled by the Road Accident Fund after lodgement, the Act provides an additional 2 years within which to serve the Summons on the Road Accident Fund.
- In the case of a hit-and-run accident, where the neither the identity of the driver or owner of the vehicle could be established, the claim must be lodged within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arose. If the claim is not settled by the Road Accident Fund after lodgement, the Act provides an additional 3 years to serve the Summons on the Road Accident Fund.
It is important to note that in order to receive compensation from the Road Accident Fund, the claim must be lodged in the prescribed manner and comply with certain sections and regulations provided for in terms of the Act. It is important to consult with a legal representative shortly after the accident in order to ensure that your claim is properly submitted and complies with the specific regulations and sections set out in the Act.Disclaimer: This article is the personal opinion/view of the author(s) and is not necessarily that of the firm. The content is provided for information only and should not be seen as an exact or complete exposition of the law. Accordingly, no reliance should be placed on the content for any reason whatsoever and no action should be taken on the basis thereof unless its application and accuracy has been confirmed by a legal advisor. The firm and author(s) cannot be held liable for any prejudice or damage resulting from action taken on the basis of this content without further written confirmation by the author(s).