How does motor car insurance and the road accident fund cover the same accident?

In this week’s article we will be responding to a question received by one of our readers being :

Please explain how motor car insurance and the road accident fund cover the same accident?

Before we get to that we first want to reiterate the following:

The Road Accident Fund’s (“RAF”) liability only extends to PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS caused by or arising from the driving of a motor vehicle by any person at any place within the Republic of South Africa.

The RAF is accordingly only liable for the following damages:

1.    General damages

2.    Special damages

The difference between the 2 categories of damages:

General Damages

General damages are more commonly known as compensation for pain and suffering. You can only claim for general damages if you have suffered a serious injury. This is defined as an injury which impairs 30% of your “whole person”. However, even if you have suffered less than 30% impairment, you will still be able to claim for general damages if the accident results in a permanent serious disfigurement, mental impairment or the loss of a bodily function or unborn baby.


Special damages

Special damages represents actual financial loss and includes past medical and hospital expenses, future medical and hospital expenses, past loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, funeral expenses and loss of support.

We will now explain the different categories of Special damages:

Medical expenses

If you are involved in a road accident, you are able to claim from the RAF for any past or future medical expenses that you incur or may incur. Claiming for past medical expenses is a relatively straightforward matter – you need to keep track of all your medical expenses suffered as a result of the accident and submit these when you make your claim. Claiming for future medical expenses however is more complex and requires an extensive and comprehensive delving into your claim.

In the event of the possibility of future medical expenses, a “Section 17 Undertaking” should be obtained from the RAF.  Essentially a “Section 17 Undertaking” is an undertaking by the RAF to cover any of your future medical expenses that are accident related as and when they incur.

Loss of Earnings and Support

You may need ‘Loss of Earnings’ If you are unable to work, or if your ability to work is seriously impaired by the accident, under which circumstances, you can claim from the RAF for loss of earnings. If you are the dependent (child or surviving spouse) of a victim who dies in a road accident, you can claim for loss of support.

Funeral Costs

The costs of cremating or burying a loved one will also be covered by the RAF where someone has died in a road accident.

So to answer the question above:

The RAF only covers personal injury claims and therefore a party involved in an accident will have to claim for the damages to his/her vehicle from his/her insurance company and/or the responsible party.

      Article contributed by Miguel Mendes of Tuckers Inc.