A young woman whose university results suffered as a result of injuries she sustained in a motor accident, has succeeded in obtaining a settlement from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) – even though she submitted her claim several years after the car crash took place.
Vanessa van Heerden* was 18 at the time of the accident in April 2003. Her parents declined to lodge a third-party claim with the RAF at the time and, since she was then classified as a minor and could only claim with the assistance of a parent or legal guardian, she was obliged to abide by their wishes.
Usually, accident victims have three years in which to claim from the Fund if the identity of the offending driver or vehicle owner is known. However, this three-year limit does not apply in the case of minors. Once she turned 21 and legally became a major, Vanessa had a further three years in which to submit a claim, which she duly did.
Vanessa had sustained whiplash in the accident and this ailment severely affected her ability to complete her BCom studies. Because she suffered side-effects from whiplash including headaches, concentration problems and general pain, it took her two years longer than it should have to complete her degree.
She engaged the services of de Broglio Inc, and a settlement was reached with the RAF for just under R500 000. This case, says Michael de Broglio, illustrates the importance of accident victims knowing their rights, and demonstrates why it is advisable to consult a reputable firm of specialist attorneys in this regard.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality