Which Act Applies?
The Road Accident Fund Act, 56 of 1996 applies to all motor vehicle collisions which occurred before 1 August 2008. This Act was replaced by the Road Accident Amendment Act, 19 of 2005 which came into operation on 1 August 2008. On 13 February 2013 the Road Accident Fund Amendment Regulations 2013 came into operation.
It is important to note that each of these Acts have different criteria and requirements for successful claims. There is also different forms and procedures to follow to lodge a claim with the Road Accident Fund.
RAF Claims Procedure
The claim is lodged on a prescribed statutory claim form (Form 1 is to be used in respect of claims arising prior to 01 August 2008 and RAF 1 from 01 August 2008 onwards) which provides basic information on the claimant, the vehicles and parties involved in the collision, the date and place of accident and the amounts claimed. It also contains a medical report by the treating doctor.
This claim form is accompanied by an affidavit setting out the following:
The drivers of the vehicles involved in the collision must furnish details of the accident to the RAF on a statutory accident report form (Form 3 is to be used in respect of claims arising prior to 01 August 2008 and RAF 3 from 01 August 2008 onwards) together with information of witnesses which the RAF may request.
Once a claim is submitted, the RAF registers it on its claim system and commences with its investigations.
The RAF determines whether the claim is valid (i.e. was there a road accident, does it comply with statutory provisions, was it submitted in time, etc.) and what the merits of the case are (i.e. the degree of fault, blame or negligence to be ascribed to the drivers of the vehicles and the claimant respectively). The quantum is also determined (i.e. the amount of the damages or losses suffered).