The horrors of a car accident can drag out for many months, as people struggle get their claims processed through the Road Accident Fund?(RAF). But now, help is on hand to reduce that wait.
The RAF provides financial assistance to people injured in road accidents or the dependents of people killed in road accidents caused by negligent driving. It’s a compulsory insurance for all SA road users that’s financed by a petrol levy included in the petrol and diesel price.
Those who are eligible to claim can get compensation for medical expenses, loss of earnings if they’re unable to work, loss of support and funeral expenses – however, they might be forced to wait up to one year before seeing any money.
Speaking to DRUM, the RAF said the pay-out delay is due to processing claims, which “requires a significant expenditure of time and resources”.
“The RAF needs to establish who caused the road crash, then apportion blame between those at fault and finally assess what damages (if any) the claimant sustained. Only then can claims be settled.”
But, according to South African start-up RAFPay, victims with valid RAF court orders can receive their pay-outs in a significantly shorter period of time.
“We get hundreds of calls a month from extremely distressed people who are meant to be paid out by the RAF,” says RAFPay CEO, Elad Smadja.
“They have endured medical stress, may have lost their jobs, are in desperate financial positions and often take loans from mashonisas (loan sharks) at very high interest rates while they wait six to 12 months before finally getting their pay-out.”
RAFPay offers upfront payments of RAF court orders so claimants don’t have to wait any longer. It charges an admin fee, so it’s not a loan and you won’t pay any interest. It pays between 85%-90% of the full amount owed as per your RAF court order (after the attorney’s fees have been deducted).
“The attorney fees and RAFPay’s fee are only paid once the final RAF pay-out is received. The whole process can take hours. The immediate cash relief allows clients to bring finality to the long trauma of their vehicle accidents so that they can finally move on with their lives,” Smadja says.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO CLAIM FROM THE RAF?
- Any person who sustained injuries in an accident (except a driver who was the sole cause of the accident)
- A dependent of the deceased breadwinner
- A relative of the deceased who was responsible for funeral expenses
- A guardian, parent or curator ad litem (a representative appointed by the court) assisting a person under the age of 18.
WHAT’S THE TIME PERIOD IN WHICH TO SUBMIT A CLAIM?
If the identity of the owner or the driver of the vehicle at fault is known, you must lodge the claim within a period of three years from the date of the accident. The matter must be finalised within five years from the date of the accident.
In cases where the identity of the driver and owner of the guilty vehicle are not known (such as hit-and-run claims), the claim must be submitted within two years from the time of the accident and should be finalised within five years from the date of the accident.
WHO CAN SUBMIT A CLAIM?
A claimant, their representative or a supplier of medical services can submit claims.
In the case of a supplier, a written request is required before the assessed liability is reimbursed.
In cases where emergency medical treatment was provided to the injured, the RAF’s obligation to compensate the injured or the supplier will be determined in accordance with the recommended price list or tariff.
In cases of non-emergency, the RAF will compensate the reasonable obligatory costs of the treatment, either to the injured party or to the supplier.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CLAIM?
When submitting the claim, tax invoices must be specified and/or the claim must indicate the service provided or treatment received.
The claim must also reflect the date of service, name and the physical address of the service provider.