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2013-11-04 21:49

AT THE MERCY OF THE RAF: A lawyer believes that changes to the Road Accident Fund benefit scheme could be detrimental to crash victims. Image: SAPA

Monthly payments instead of a lump sum, no legal representation... the Road Accident Fund Benefit Scheme has been labelled by one lawyer as potentially having "devastating effect on crash victims."

In 2009, a 38-year-old father of three who was rendered a quadriplegic following a car crash. The driver instituted a claim against the Road Accident Fund (RAF) for past and future medical expenses, loss of income and general damages for pain and suffering.

He was awarded general damages to the total of R2.2-million by the North Gauteng High Court.

'DEVASTATING EFFECT ON VICTIMS'

Senior associate with commercial and property lawyers Adams & Adams, Jean-Paul Rudd, who represented the driver, said: "The only issue to be determined by the court was the amount to be awarded to the man for general damages on which the man's laywers and the RAF could not agree."

In light of this case, the RAF is pushing to amend its current system of compensation to crash victims. Changes would deprive victims of the right to claim for general damages and a victim’s loss of income would be paid monthly and not in a lump sum.

Rudd commented: “The implementation of such a scheme would have a devastating effect on crash victims."

The scheme does not allow for legal representation. Should a victim secure legal representation, it would be at his/her own cost.

Rudd said that this would result in victims' compensation being decided by RAF: "The RAF would become the judge, jury and executioner. The public should be made aware of these concerns."

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Read more on:    road accident fund  |  lawyer  |  crash

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