The influx of foreigners to South Africa with the upcoming sporting events means that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will once again be in the spotlight should it face hefty claims from visitors. In 2008, a R1.6 billion payout to a Swiss tourist after a road accident that left him paralysed meant that the Road Accident Fund exhausted almost half of it’s annual payout limit to settle just one claim. With this in mind, the Road Accident Fund should consider more stringent criteria for payouts given that some first world countries do not settle claims from visiting foreigners.
The Road Accident Fund derives its budget from a small portion of the fuel levy that South African motorists pay regularly when filling fuel. It is this levy, constantly paid by South African motorists, that is used to reimburse victims of road traffic accidents. The purpose of the fund was to assist persons or the families of those injured, maimed or killed in a road accident with the financial impact of their injury or death. From whiplash to quadriplegia, the Road Accident Fund has been a lifeline for accident victims throughout the years.
Unfortunately, the lack of regulation meant that any accident victim on a South African road can now claim from the fund even if he or she has only been in the country for a day or two. This has impacted significantly on South African victims who have ultimately had their payouts reduced due to the financial state of the Road Accident Fund. Unscrupulous lawyers, fake claims and foreigner’s payouts (in dollars, pounds and Euros) are bound to continue with the upcoming World Cup soccer 2010 and the onus lies on the South African public to assist in policing the financial lifeline that they fund.
If you have had an accident and have not sustained any injury, do not be drawn into making claims from the Road Accident Fund by any broker, lawyer or medical practitioner. Common sense should dictate whether you have truly been affected and lost a portion of your income after experiencing a road accident. Whiplash claims , a common condition experienced by road accident victims, continues to flood the Road Accident Fund and while the payout has been reduced, the overall effect of tens of thousands of whiplash claims undoubtedly affects the fund.
Many of these whiplash injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident resulted in nothing more than slight neck pain, a stiff neck or headaches for a few days.
Fraud costs the Road Accident Fund both in payout of claims as well as the administrative costs associated with processing and rejecting certain claims. This essentially affects a fund that is paid from your fuel levy which adds to the cost of your fuel, bus or taxi fare. In an effort to reduce RAF claims fraud, the Road Accident Fund has setup an anonymous fraud reporting facility for members of the public. If you are aware of any party committing RAF fraud or any claim that may be fradulent you can use the RAF website form anonymously or call the RAF fraudline.
If you have a legitimate Road Accident Fund claim, you can use the Road Accident Fund claim form available on the RAF website or alternatively you can login and monitor the status of a pending claim.