Over 2-million people travel by train in South Africa every day, and according to the State of Safety Report, during the 2016/17 period 495 people tragically lost their lives while 2,095 were injured. This amounts to nearly two deaths per day while almost six people are injured daily.
Additional to these shocking figures, there are escalating security-related incidents related to trains and station platforms which resulted in 16 deaths and 525 injuries in the same reporting period.
If you were injured when using the trains, or have lost a close family member that was the breadwinner, you may be able to make a claim against the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) – which also owns Metrorail – for personal injuries sustained.
What are the causes of train injuries?
People are injured when trains collide or derail. They can also be injured from electric shocks, explosions and fires. Safety and security on our trains is another issue and travellers can fall victim to violent criminal attacks while commuting.
Who can claim?
If you have been injured after a train accident or train fire, have fallen or been pushed on a train or platform while travelling or disembarking, or been injured as a result of criminal activity or negligent operation of equipment on the trains, platforms or other railway property, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.
If you have lost a close family member on whose financial support you were dependent, you may also be eligible to claim.
What can I claim for?
Past and future medical and hospital expenses.
- Loss of earnings.
- Future loss of earnings.
- General damages for pain, suffering, shock, disability and disfigurement, and loss of quality of life for serious injuries.
- Necessary funeral expenses.
Who do I claim from?
As a provider of public transport, PRASA, has a legal duty to protect commuters by upholding a safe environment for its users. This includes maintaining trains, platforms and all rail infrastructure in good order to prevent accidents, as well ensuring that trains and the rail infrastructure are safe for passengers.
If it can be proved that you or your loved ones were injured as a result of PRASA not meeting its duty of care, you may be eligible for compensation.
How long do I have to claim?
The regulations for claims against state-owned enterprises such as PRASA declare that they must be notified of your intention to make a claim within six months of the accident.
I was injured by the trains, what should I do?
First of all, make sure that you get appropriate medical attention. Even apparently small injuries can lead to complications later, and this should not be left to chance. You will also need proper medical records to support any claim. Take photographs of your injuries and of the scene of the accident if possible. You should also take a record of the full contact details of any witnesses to the incident, including rail officials. Write a record of what happened to you so that you do not forget the details.
Keep all your records in safe place for future use, including the contact details of medical professionals who attended you. Contact a suitable professional personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. They will advise you whether they think you have a valid claim, and if so they can begin the process of gathering evidence as quickly as possible.
Know your rights
Do not sign anything after the incident. If you sign anything immediately in settlement of compensation, you may not be able to pursue a larger claim for the accident later. The financial implications of your injuries are best determined with the help of trained experts, and are not always clear immediately after an accident.
Do not speak to rail officials about the accident. You should only speak to them to collect their names and contact information. Likewise, you should not speak to the press, or post anything on social media about the accident. Especially in a state of shock, pain and confusion, you could inadvertently say something that could be used against you in court if you decide to pursue a claim.
Get expert professional advice from qualified attorneys
Our attorneys at Elmarié de Vos Inc specialise in personal injury claims against PRASA resulting from negligence on the part of the passenger rail agency. We operate on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t have to pay anything directly to us, our costs are settled out of your claim if you win.
Contact us for no obligation advice via our simple form: https://elmariedevosinc.co.za/tell-us-your-story
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.