Cape Town - A 64-year-old man claimed he earned R20 000 before a road accident left him unable to work and his income drastically diminished.
Quinton Schroeder said he was riding a motorcycle when he collided with a car that skipped a traffic light.
He put in a claim for R700 000 but according to him, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) only offered R700 per month.
The RAF told Weekend Argus that Schroeder, a property developer, elected to be represented by an attorney who was managing his claim and they were not at liberty to discuss aspects of the case. Schroeder has since decided to represent himself.
Anthony Batchelor from A Batchelor and Associates cautioned claimants not to go it alone.
“The ordinary man on the street will not know if they get a good offer from RAF. You’re basically claiming from the entity. They decide how much you get and there is a direct conflict of interest,” he said.
While the RAF was not discouraging claimants from enlisting the services of an attorney, it warned that this route could lead to litigation which may in turn result in delays.
Batchelor added: “The RAF sends a claimant to their own doctors and specialists and these individuals are paid by the RAF. You have to ask yourself, whose interests are being served?”
He said some claims could take between three and five years to be finalised.
Meanwhile, RAF senior manager for media and public relations, Linda Rulashe, said it registered 271933 claims and finalised 203493 in the 2017/18 financial year.
“The fund settled and paid out R34.6bn in claims. On average, 771 claims were finalised each working day of the year,” she said.
The average value of a personal claim in 2017/18 was R235.716, Rulashe added.
Before the RAF is in a position to make payment in respect of a claim, it is required to investigate the claim to establish liability - compliance with procedural statutory requirements and confirmation of the nexus - and the link between the accident and alleged injuries sustained in the accident; negligence - the parties at fault for causing the accident and their respective contributions; and quantum - the determination of the compensation, including the need for issuing an undertaking in relation to future medical care related to accident-related injuries.
“All claims go through the aforementioned assessments and compensation is calculated on a case-by-case basis.
“Where the RAF rejects a claim based on liability, negligence, or quantum, the claimant receives R0,” Rulashe said.
In the 2017/18 financial year, 17873 claims were finalised in Cape Town, compared to 36644 in Durban and 30533 in Joburg.
Pretoria registered the highest number of claims finalised with 104621.
Claims are mostly for past and future loss of earnings, future medical expenses, general damages for serious injuries, funeral expenses and past and future loss of support.
Direct claims took 912 days to settle and attorney-assisted claims took 1432 days to settle.