Motorbike crash victim loses out on R500k claim

2016-06-03 12:21


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Bloemfontein – The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a motorcyclist who claimed there was a mistake in his settlement agreement with the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The High Court in Pretoria had previously ruled in favour of Roelof Ernst Botha, who sued the RAF for damages after he was severely injured in a motorbike accident. 

Botha's wife was also injured in the accident, and she too instituted a claim against the RAF.

In March 2014, Botha and his wife's cases appeared before different judges. The RAF conceded liability for whatever damages Botha and his wife were able to prove.

His wife's claim went to trial for determination of the damages. Judgment in her matter was reserved.

With Botha, the parties negotiated a settlement of his general damages at R1m, while his past hospital and medical expenses came to R236 922.

The only outstanding item was a claim for future loss of earnings, which was separated from the other two amounts. 

An order was issued that the RAF pay Botha R1 236 922.

After the settlement, Botha's lawyers discovered that documents relating to some of his hospital and medical expenses had been placed in his wife’s file and were not presented to the RAF.

They said the medical bill actually amounted to R784 278.

The matter was brought before the high court for its order to be cancelled or amended, to reflect the new amount. The court dismissed the application.

Botha then appealed to the SCA.

On Thursday, the SCA ruled that it was not a mistake common to both parties, but only a mistake on the part of Botha’s attorney, and that the RAF was not at fault.

"The misrepresentation by the appellant [Botha] misled the respondent [RAF], and this resulted in the conclusion of the settlement agreement. The appellant cannot rely on his own mistake to avoid the contract, which was solely his fault," the SCA said.    

The matter was dismissed with costs.

Read more on:    raf  |  road accident fund

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