The Department of Transport has announced that a draft for the Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill will be made available for public comment this week. The proposed new regulations will seek to speed up the process in which claimants are paid out after an accident.
Amongst the introductions is a proposed 30-day ‘no fault’ period for medical expenses. This will mean that claimants will be paid out within a month of any accident they may have been involved in. It also means that medical service providers that claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will be more likely to provide immediate medical care to such individuals.
According to RAF senior legal manager, Chris Willemse, the regulation would also mean that service providers would be able to recover full compensation from the fund, subject to a proposed new tariff. Under current process, many service providers were somewhat reluctant to treat road crash victims.
“This is because the victim may not be able to pay them for the treatment. Secondly, when they (service provider) claim from the RAF, that claim may be subject to apportionment,” he explained.
The bill also makes several other new provisions, including a ‘no fault’ funeral cover period. Under current legislation, certain claimants would not be entitled to a payout when their deceased family member was the sole cause of the accident.
“That would no longer be the case, and those family members will qualify for claims for funds to bury their loved one,” he explained.
In addition, the bill makes provisions for ‘identified claims’ and ‘hit-and-run claims’ to be afforded the same length in which an individual can claim. It has also made a proposal for a potential list of serious injuries. This would mean that claimants would not be subject to a formal assessment, should their injuries fall under the list.
“It would assist for claims to be settled faster, and it would also reduce the legal and administrative cost for them to undergo the formal assessment,” explained Willemse.
The bill has been published by the Department of Transport. Anyone seeking to make submissions can do so via 012 309 3764. Alternatively, you can send the department a fax at 012 309 3962. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)