GOING THE DIRECT ROUTE – BE WARNED

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) runs a campaign in terms of which they encourage the public to

“claim directly” from the Road Accident Fund.

A “direct claim” refers to a claim lodged, by a road crash victim, directly with the RAF without the assistance of a legal practitioner.

By acting in this manner, the RAF stands in the shoes of a legal practitioner and in doing so assumes a position in which they now have a duty of due diligence and professional care.

The RAF, as an organ of state, is subordinate to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of South Africa, which holds that the RAF, should refrain from interfering with, amongst others, the right of access to court and the right to bodily integrity of the victims of motor vehicle accidents.

It is expected of organs of state, like the RAF, to act reasonably and to treat victims of motor vehicle accidents with dignity, honesty and fairly.

By inviting victims of motor vehicle accidents to lodge “direct claims” the RAF is taking on the important responsibility to act in the best interest of the victims, not themselves.

This responsibility is of special importance in the case of victims of road crashes of whom many are illiterate, and who are not in a position to defend themselves against a large Government institution such as the RAF.

In these circumstances, a very high expectation of care, honesty, and reliability is taken on by the RAF exactly the same as what would be expected from a legal practitioner.

Gert Nel Attorneys have tested the success of the RAF, in achieving this high level of excellence at the hand of the numerous queries we receive from the public.

We found in every single matter that the RAF had either left the matter to prescribe or under settled the victim (in other words paid the victims less than what the actual value of the claim is).

Gert Nel Attorneys have successfully helped numerous, previous “direct claimants” to attain the actual value of the damages, owed to them by the RAF, see in this regard:

BE VIGILANT WITH YOUR CLAIM – YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE 

The victim of a motor vehicle accident should be mindful of the fact that they only have one chance to negotiate a proper claim against the RAF and must ensure that they are receiving the best advice and assistance in this regard.

Realistically, victims will not be able to obtain a reasonable offer from the RAF, as they will be entirely at the mercy of the RAF for information and support and who is acting as “judge and jury” in an otherwise adversarial scenario.

Any victim of a traumatic event like a motor vehicle accident would agree that they would not be able to determine whether the RAF has made a reasonable offer with regard to the magnitude and scope of their injuries, without the assistance of an independent legally trained expert.

The victim of a “direct claim” is confronted with an unequal bargaining situation, in which the RAF has the upper hand, and arbitrarily, and in many cases, without the use of medical assessments, judges the value of a claim, to the detriment of the victim.

In our experience, the RAF will tender the lowest possible offer, in the hope that an uninformed victim will accept the offer, and go away, without seeking a second opinion.

Gert Nel Attorneys have found during our investigation and experience a “direct claimants”:

  • Receives little to no feedback from the RAF;
  • Has to pay for his/her own source documentation and assessment by medical experts;
  • Has to arrange his/her own accident reports and medical reports, including an RAF 4 report;
  • Has to pay their own transport and accommodation to obtain documents and reports or to be medically assessed;
  • Receive a settlement amount, if lucky, which is drastically lower than what their claims are actually worth;
  • Do not have the opportunity to go to court in cases where they are not satisfied with their offer;
  • Have their matters prescribe in the hands of the Road Accident Fund, in other words the claims are left to lapse or fall away.

The RAF is failing to honour, protect, and promote the victim’s right to dignity, preventing them from seeking relief at Court and clearly is not acting in the best interest of the victim, which is evident from the poor results we have seen coming from their “direct claim” campaign.

The RAF, is clearly not complying with its Constitutional duty, and it is acting contrary to the provisions in the Bill of Rights.

We are convinced that any “direct claimant” reading this article will agree that this is, or was their experience when going the “direct route”.

The RAF simply cannot cope with nor are they capable of rendering the duty of care expected by the “direct claim” victim.

WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM OF A “DIRECT CLAIM” DO?

Prevent becoming a victim for a second time by making contact with a legal practitioner.

Gert Nel Attorneys are one of the leading personal injury firms in the country and serves victims of motor vehicle crashes, Country wide.

Gert Nel Attorneys will evaluate your case and give you a professional opinion, based upon more than 20 years’ experience, which will enable you to make an informed decision about the best way forward for your claim.

Please note that even if your claim has prescribed in the hands of the RAF (in other words, if you have not heard from the RAF in the last 3 years), or if indeed you have already received payment on a direct claim, there is still a chance that Gert Nel Attorneys will be able to assist you.

Gert Nel Attorneys performs their mandate within the ambit of current and relevant legislation, especially the Contingency Fees Act 66 of 1997, in determining a reasonable fee in case of a successful claim – no account will be tendered if the claim is not successful.

Each matter is unique and will be assessed individually by an attorney.

No deposit will be required as Gert Nel Attorneys will carry all the relevant expenses, required to prove your claim including a panel of expert doctors, reports etc. if we are of the opinion that the “direct claim” victim has a reasonable chance of success with their case.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 012 333 8290, or send us a WhatsApp on 076 175 2825.

“Make that call today you have the right to a second opinion”