If politicians have their way, the Road Accident Fund will soon be replaced by a new system called the Road Accident Fund Benefit Scheme.
It’s claimed that road accident victims will be able to receive more benefits through this scheme than through the previous fund because it will ensure that any benefits paid out will be more skewed towards the victim than sharing them amongst the lawyers and attorneys who are currently paid to help victims with their claim applications.
Some of the major proposed changes include:
- Payments for loss of income will no longer be made in lump sums – instead, they’ll be paid monthly and will be capped at R280 000 per year, and in some cases limited to the national average salary (approximately R3 500 per month).
- Regardless of whether an individual has been fully rehabilitated, payments will automatically stop after 15 years; when the injured party returns to work; or when the injured party reaches the age of 60.
- Minors will qualify for compensation for lost earning potential – again capped at the national average – only when they turn 18, regardless of how serious their injuries are.
- People who are involved in car accidents would no longer be able to claim against the guilty parties and guilty motorists would get the same benefits as innocent victims.
- Claims will be paid through an administrator instead of a private attorney.
- All claims will need to be submitted electronically.
- Claimants will also have to cover the costs of obtaining medical and police reports, with limited potential for reimbursement through the scheme.
But legal experts are warning that the scheme’s implementation will see fuel levies rising by an estimated 75% and reduced compensation being paid out to road accident victims and their dependents.
On the other hand, it’s expected that the new scheme will see claims being settled quicker due to the removal of lawyers and attorneys. Injured persons will also have immediate access to health care, and depending on how efficiently the administration process is managed, benefits can be expected to be paid much sooner than RAF claims. RAF claims can currently take up to seven years to settle.
* This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice.