‘Be afraid’, road users warned

2013-07-23 00:00

SOUTH African road users “must be very afraid” warned Ronald Bobroff, an attorney from Johannesburg and president of the South African Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Saapil).

He was reacting to a new regulation that the minister of Transport — then Ben Martins — published in the May edition of the Government Gazette.

It lists a range of road crash injuries that in future will not be viewed as serious by the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

When the RAF does not view an injury as serious, the injured party cannot claim damages from the RAF and stands to lose hundreds of thousands of rands. The damaged party can only claim minimal payment for, among others, medical expenses. Under the new regulations, the injured party will also not be able to claim general damages from the RAF. General damage claims include future medical treatment as well as pain and suffering and normally comprise the largest percentage of RAF claims.

Under the new regulations, injuried parties will only be able to claim minimal damages from the RAF for injuries like whiplash of the neck or back or the tearing, crushing or damage to any muscle or soft tissue.

The loss of a pinky or toe, other than the big toe, in a crash is also seen as a “light” injury.

“Road users must be afraid, very afraid,” said Bobroff, adding that professional guitar or piano players would not treat a missing pinky as a “light” injury.

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