Recent amendments to the Road Accident Fund claims criteria means that South Africans may be surprised to find that the benefits they believe they are entitled to, should they meet with an accident on a South African road, will not materialise. The 2008 amendments has recently been covered in a popular South African documentary showing road accident victims, who are now left in tight financial positions although they are among the millions of contributors in this country who fund the Road Accident Fund (RAF) through a fuel levy.
Some of the amendments that were highlighted include the following :
1. No cover for private hospitals
If you meet with an accident on a South African road, you will only be treated at a private hospital if you have medical aid cover or if you can afford the upfront cash fees. The Road Accident Fund will only reimburse private hospitals at the government hospital rate which most private hospitals will not accept. In most instances, if you do not have the financial resources or medical aid cover, you will be taken to a government hospital for treatment.
2. Loss of Income Remuneration
A person who is considered unfit to work due to the injuries they have sustained in a road accident will be reimbursed with approximately R160,000 per annum. This equates to approximately R9,000 per month after taxes for a loss of income as a result of your road accident injuries.
3. 30% Physical and/or Mental Impairment
To qualify for certain benefits for more extensive injuries like the monthly remuneration mentioned above, a road accident victim will have to sustain injuries that cause a level of impairment in daily functioning. This level of impairment is only considered a qualifying criteria for certain RAF benefit based on guidelines specified by the Road Accident Fund.
4. Cannot sue guilty party
Part of the conditions for remuneration from the Road Accident Fund also means that the guilty party in a road accident cannot be held liable in their personal capacity. In other words, if you opt to claim from the RAF, you cannot sue the other driver for their negligence that may have caused the accident. This may be dependent on certain criteria and it is advisable that you consult with an attorney regarding your constitutional rights in these instances.
The above amendments as well as other changes are dependent on the individual case and context in which it will be applied. If you are uncertain about how these amendments may affect your RAF claim, it is best to consult with your attorney or speak directly to the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in South Africa.