Already suffering from the trauma of a debilitating car accident, a Centurion man says he endured further frustration and red tape when attempting to lodge his own claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
Rashid Naidoo* was driving in Phoenix, near Durban, to visit his grandson on 26 December 2008 when a taxi skipped a stop street and collided with his vehicle. The Day of Goodwill turned into a day of hell for him, as he broke his pelvis and sustained facial injuries and whiplash in the accident.
So serious were his injuries that he had to be hospitalised in Durban for two months after the accident, and walked on crutches for six months.
Apart from being severely traumatised by what had happened, he was unable to work as an IT contractor and property agent for more than a year, as he couldn’t drive or even bend down due to his injuries. While in hospital he was advised to approach the RAF directly to lodge a claim, and to sidestep using a lawyer.
But going this DIY route merely served to make a bad situation worse. “They [the Fund] advertise that they to want to protect us accident victims, but they don’t,” says an emotional Rashid. “They should be fighting for our rights, but I never got any proper responses from them. The accident affected my life so much, yet they showed no respect for me and what I was going through. They really mess you around.”
Several months later, having endured countless frustrations with the Fund, Rashid was referred by his own attorneys to de Broglio Inc, specialists in RAF claims. De Broglio Inc is now proceeding with Rashid’s case against the Fund.
“I would really advise accident victims to go straight to a firm of attorneys with their claims,” says Rashid today. “What does the RAF do for you? They do nothing to fight your case. I can’t properly perform my work duties, I can’t take part in sport, I walk with a limp – I need to be compensated.”
Michael de Broglio says there is a clear conflict of interest in the RAF handling claims itself, as it could be argued that it would not be in the Fund’s own best financial interests to award accident victims decent payouts.
“It is really impossible for the Road Accident Fund to, on one hand, be trying to represent the client against themselves, and on the other hand, opposing the payout,” he points out. “It is therefore no wonder the client got no joy from the Fund and has now been forced to proceed via the litigation route.”
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality