Accidents are very unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances that happen when no one expects them (that’s why they are called “accidents” by the way). In fact, not everyone is financially prepared for the cost that comes with the damage from an accident. With this in mind, the government of South Africa has made it possible for road accident victims who are not the cause of an accident to receive compensation for damages and injuries. The road accident fund is a state-supported insurance fund that aims at providing compensation to victims of a road accident in South Africa.
Receiving a payout after making claims for a road accident fund can take up to 5 years, as such, it is advised that victims apply as soon as they can. The process of applying is simple but to get familiar with all you need to know about the Road Accident Fund in South Africa and how to check road accident fund claims in South Africa, keep your eyes glued to the article.
What Is Road Accident Fund Claim?
In South Africa, Road Accident Fund is set aside and used to compensate accident victims for personal injuries, and in an applicable situation where the accident victims die, the compensation is given to the immediate family members of the victim. This road accident fund can only be claimed by victims of an accident who are not the cause of the accident.
This means that accident victims who are solely responsible for accidents are not eligible for the Road Accident Fund in South Africa. They are, however, indemnified for claims on bodily injuries, except claims for emotional shock.
How are the funds for the Road Accident Fund in South Africa generated? The fact is that every vehicle and motorcycle owner in South Africa contributes to the Road Accident Fund. How? The government of South Africa achieves this by inserting a levy on diesel or petrol which means that any time you purchase diesel or petrol as a vehicle or motorcycle owner, you contribute to this fund indirectly.
Types Of Road Accident Fund Claim
The Road Accident Fund provides only two types of cover namely: personal insurance cover for accident victims and indemnity cover for those responsible for the accident. Road Accident Fund provides compensation for the following accident cases:
- Compensation for loss of support: This happens in a situation where the accident victim who lost his life is the breadwinner of his family, and the accident was as a result of someone’s carelessness and not caused by the victim.
- Loss of earnings: This happens in a situation where an accident victim survives the crash but is unable to work as a result of the accident.
- General damages for pain and suffering: As the victim of an accident, you can claim road accident funds if you have sustained serious injuries (as determined by the reference criteria), lost a child, sustained mental impairment, lost a body function, or sustained disfigurement, in the process.
- Funeral expenses: If a family member loses his or her life as a result of a road accident, their family members can claim a road accident fund to cover the expenses to be incurred at the funeral.
- Medical expenses: In case the victim becomes hospitalized, they can claim funds for medical expenses that came about as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
Who Qualifies For A Road Accident Fund Claim?
The Road Accident Fund can be claimed by both South Africans and foreigners who live in South Africa. Also, it is important to note that this fund is not available to drivers only. The Road Accident Fund can be claimed by road drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists, as well.
All these categories of road users are eligible to claim this fund as the only reason that would not be the case is if they are solely responsible for the accident. You qualify for the fund if you were injured in an accident, but were not the sole cause of the accident. You also qualify, if you were the driver of a vehicle, but not the owner, and the accident was caused as a result of the carelessness of the vehicle owner.
However, you do not qualify to claim the Road Accident Fund if you were the owner and driver of the vehicle that solely caused the accident and if you were the only person involved in the accident.
Requirements For Claiming The Road Accident Fund
As has been mentioned before, the eligibility of an accident victim to claim a road accident fund is determined by how much the victim is to blame for the accident. However, to apply for the fund, there are certain requirements one must meet or certain documents one must provide. Those requirements that will enable you to apply for the Road Accident Fund in South Africa include:
- You must fill the official RAF form
- You must submit medical reports to back up your injury claims
- You must provide your details
- You must obtain a Police report or get the case number for the accident
- You must provide compelling testimony from a lawyer or medical practitioner to back up your claim
- You must also provide information about the damaged vehicle or surrounding environment
- If the accident had witnesses on the scene, statements from the individuals who witnessed the accident must also be provided
- You must provide invoices and receipts to support the amount you claim to have spent on your medical expenses
The road accident fund takes into account the following criteria to determine whether or not a person is eligible:
- It considers whether or not the victim was wearing safety gadgets like helmets and seat belts – at the time of the accident. Would the victim have done more to protect themselves or prevent the incident?
- Was the pedestrian or bystander careless?
Step By Step Guide On How To Claim Road Accident Fund
Here is a detailed step by step guide on how to claim a road accident fund:
- Get yourself ready: You should do this by putting together all required documents (the required documents have been listed in the previous subheading).
- Submit your claim: After you have successfully filled the RAF form, and have gotten all documents required ready, you can now submit your claim. After you have submitted your claims, RAF will now begin the process to fund, they will assess whether or not you are eligible for the fund, using the information on the document you provide. If you obtained serious injuries, then you will also have to submit a Serious Injury Assessment Report (RAF 4), filled by a medical doctor.
- RAF begins to investigate the claim: Once you have successfully submitted your claims, RAF will begin to process them. The processing involves an investigation of your claims to ascertain their validity.
How Much Can You Claim For Road Accident Fund?
The amount you claim for the Road Accident Fund in South Africa is determined by the situation surrounding the accident. If you are claiming funds for medical bills, then the amount you claim will be dependent on the amount stated on the medical invoice that has been attested to by a certified medical practitioner.
If the initial medical bills have been paid for by the fund, and the accident victim incurs more bills as a result of injuries acquired during the accident, RAF will also take care of it.
If the case before the Road Accident Fund is that of loss of earnings, the victim will receive a compensation of R160,000. This prescribed cap was announced on the 1st of August 2008, and it is adjusted quarterly based on inflation.
How Long Does It Take To Claim A Road Accident Fund?
The Road Accident Fund can take up to three to five years before it is paid out. This is why it is important to submit your claim as fast as possible. What happens in most cases is that the victims or family members may have to use their money to take care of the immediate financial need and then wait for the funds from RAF to be released.
How To Check The Status Of Your Claim
Despite the fact that it has been established as a rule that the Road Accident Fund in South Africa takes between three to five years – from the time it is applied for – before it is paid, it is also pertinent that you check on the status of the claims intermittently. The process of checking the status of your claim is very simple and does not require technicalities. All you need to do is:
- Visit the RAF homepage.
- On the search bar for the accident claim page, enter your ARP number. An APR is your Accident Report Number.
- Next to the search result, click on ‘View The Claims Details’
- All information regarding the status of your claim will be displayed on your screen.
- You can download for print the information out.
You can also check the status of your claim without visiting the RAF website. This is necessary because sometimes, the official RAF homepage may be down and there is the fact that not everyone has access to the internet. So alternatively you can check the status of your claim by putting a phone call through 0800 202 945. You will be asked to provide some information by the person on the other side of the call. After providing the appropriate information, you will be informed about the current status of your claim.
You can also check the status of your claim by sending an email to email@example.com. If you do not have an APR, call 0800 202 945 and inform them that you do not have an APR but would like to know the status of your claim.
Road Accident Fund Claim For Death
Family members of a deceased accident victim can claim a road accident fund if the victim was not the sole cause of the accident and if the victim is the breadwinner of the family. However, this is only possible if the family can provide proof that the victim was actually the breadwinner of the family before his demise through an accident. If RAF investigates and finds their claim valid, they will be compensated and the compensation is limited to a prescribed cap, which is also adjusted quarterly based on inflation.
The family can also claim funds for the victim’s funeral and if RAF finds their claims valid, then the following funeral requirements will be taken care of by RAF:
- Cost of hiring of equipment to power the deceased body into the grave.
- Transportation cost of conveying the deceased body from one point to another.
- Cost of cremation and burial fees.
- Costs involved in the issuance of the death certificate
- Cost of buying the coffin and burial shroud.
- Mortuary expenses.
- Costs of embalming and preparing the deceased body.
It may look like the Road Accident Fund would take care of every aspect of the accident victim’s funeral financially, however, here are things RAF will not be responsible for:
- Transportation of the family
- Funeral programs
To claim road accident funds for a deceased relative, you will require the following documents:
- Invoice for the funeral cost.
- Post-mortem report and death certificate.
- Marriage certificate (where applicable).
- Identity documents of the victim.
- Financial statement to prove earnings e.g. salary slip.
- If the claimant is a minor, provide an unabridged birth certificate.
Note that if the victim died at the accident spot, then there will be no need for the medical report. However, if he or she dies after the date of the accident, then a medical report will be required.
How Much Does the Road Accident Fund Pay For Leg Injury?
For a leg injury, like a broken leg, the victim can claim funds up to R400,000. For general damages, you can receive a payout of up to R100,000 and for a brain injury, you can receive as much as R2 million.
Road Accident Fund Claims Contact Details
Here are different road accident fund claim contact details:
- Phone: 012 621 1691
- Fax: 012 621 1640
- Address: No 6, Duncan Manor, 150 Brooks Street, Cnr Brooks and Jan Shoba Streets, Brooklyn, Pretoria
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 30162, Sunnyside, 0132