Attorneys milk client’s RAF payout

2010-03-13 10:29

MPHO Ramaru has become one of many unhappy claimants from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). His unhappiness stems from the extremely high service charges his lawyers are demanding after the fund paid out R90 234 for his 2005 claim.

Speaking to Hotline, Ramaru said Dudula Attorneys, the lawyers who represented him in his claim, are ­demanding a larger stake of the payout, than the initial 30% in legal fees that they agreed on.

“I can’t honestly be expected to split the payout in half with the ­attorneys. I am a victim here and the scars will forever be visible (on me).

“I have also not fully recovered from the accident and I am expected to undergo physiotherapy again,” said Ramaru.

He said his relationship with Dudula Attorneys has since become progressively worse. “Strangely the once smooth-talking attorney (the lawyer he has been liaising with from the beginning of his claim) has turned into a real monster.

“He raises the tone of his voice every time I contact him and I really feel intimidated.”

Ramaru contacted Dudula Attorneys five years ago on the advice of a friend after he was ­involved in an accident in Soweto.

The accident happened on Ndaba Drive in Protea North when another car did not stop at an intersection and collided with his. He sustained injuries to his left limbs and spent almost a week in hospital.

The court process dragged for about three years but thankfully his attorneys kept on advising him as to the status of the case.

In November, Dudula Attorneys explained to him that the RAF had offered to pay out R40 000 but that they would contest the matter. They have failed to provide me with feedback as promised, Ramaru said.

“I have read many stories about attorneys ditching clients after the payout. I just never thought I could also be a victim.

“And when the attorneys failed to update me on the progress, I got ­suspicious. I then contacted the RAF this year directly and was surprised to learn that the matter had been ­finalised,” he said.

When he went back to his lawyers with this information, they suddenly demanded R40 000 in legal costs and he obviously objected.

After his objection, Ramaru alleges that Dudula Attorneys threatened to apply for a taxation of the bill from the court.

Hotline referred the complaint to Phinda Dudula of the law firm and he admitted that the wrangle ­between his firm and Ramaru was over the payment of legal costs.

Dudula promised to provide ­Hotline with a written statement but by the time of going to press the response had not reached Hotline.

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