In the tragic event that you have lost a close member of your family in a motor vehicle accident that was someone else’s fault and the deceased was the breadwinner, you are entitled to file a loss of support claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF). You can also claim compensation for funeral costs.
Who can claim for loss of support?
Anyone who is legally dependent on the deceased for financial maintenance and where the deceased had a legal duty to maintain may claim compensation. This includes the widow, biological or adopted children and indigent parents, who are no longer able to earn a living and require support.
All claimants must prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were dependants of the deceased.
Compensation from a successful claim will then be divided amongst the relatives or claimants and will be shared between these dependants based on their respective needs and prior financial support provided by the deceased.
What can I claim for?
Generally, two thirds of the compensation will be paid to the primary care-giver or spouse. One third of the compensation may be allocated to the children or grandchildren of the deceased and the indigent parent/s. Children are entitled to support until they reach self-sufficiency at 18 years of age, unless tertiary education is likely.
In the event that any of the claimants still earn an income, they need to prove that they are unable to provide adequate care for themselves and their dependants as a result of the loss of their relative or spouse.
If the widow of the deceased remarries before her claim is finalised, her loss will be reduced due to the fact that she now has someone else supporting her.
In the event that the breadwinner is at the beginning of their career at the time of death, and it can be shown that the deceased would have been promoted and advanced in his career, an expert can report on the loss of earning potential and these increased earnings are taken into account when calculating the dependents’ losses.
How long do I have to claim?
In an accident where the identity of the negligent driver or vehicle owner is known, a claim for loss of support must be submitted within three years of the date of the accident or the date of death.
If a minor is claiming compensation for loss of support, the claim must be submitted within three years of the minor reaching the age of 18.
In all loss of support claims arising from hit-and-run accidents, where the identity of the negligent driver is unknown, claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident.
Limitations of a loss of support claim
Additionally, loss of support claims relating to accidents that occurred on or after 1 August 2008 are limited to a fixed amount, determined as R160,000 adjusted quarterly for inflation since 2008, regardless of the actual loss incurred.
Funeral expenses are recoverable but they are very limited. The only items that are recoverable are the service, grave fee and casket. Any additional expenses such as catering are for your own account.
What documents are required to claim?
Numerous documents are required in order to submit a successful claim to the RAF. The claim requires basic information about the claimant, as well as details of the accident.
If the person died immediately, no medical report is required. If death was after the accident date, a medical report is necessary. Additionally, further documents are needed to substantiate your claim such as certified identity documents, death certificates, post-mortem reports, marriage certificates and unabridged birth certificates (where applicable), proof of funeral costs, financial statements, salary slips and income tax returns to provide proof of the deceased’s income.
How do I lodge a successful loss of support claim?
Claims to the RAF are complicated, time consuming and often expensive owing to the substantiating documents required to have a successful claim. Many claims are rejected due to incorrect or insufficient supporting evidence.
We strongly suggest that you consult with a suitable qualified attorney to help you present the best possible case to the Road Accident Fund. Our attorneys have worked at the Road Accident Fund and are especially well-positioned to assist a claim in getting the best possible results. We operate on a contingency basis which means that if there is no win for you, there is no fee from us.
If a loved one that you relied on for support has tragically died in an accident and you need compensation, please fill in our easy form here: https://elmariedevosinc.co.za/tell-us-your-story – and we will get back to you within 72 hours. Or you can call us on 0861 338 529, SMS or WhatsApp 071 112 2007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information on these web pages is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be stand-alone legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified attorney for individual advice regarding your legal matter.