Going it alone on a claim can be bad for your health
Often, victims of road accidents approach the Road Accident Fund (RAF) with a claim on their own, little realising that the expertise and bargaining power of professional attorneys can potentially secure them much higher payouts.
This was the case with Greg Gardener*, a 22-year-old Johannesburg motorcyclist who lodged a claim with the Fund following a harrowing accident. The RAF made him a settlement offer – but he then engaged the services of de Broglio Attorneys, whose lawyers are now on course to secure him at least 10 times as much in compensation.
Greg, then aged 19, was riding his bike in Ridgeway in January 2006 when a vehicle skipped a stop street and collided with him. The hit-and-run driver then raced away from the accident scene, leaving Greg at risk of bleeding to death, alone in the veld at night.
Luckily, he was found and taken to hospital timeously, but he nonetheless sustained fractured ribs, injuries to his hips, knees and ankles. The accident also caused Greg to suffer severe injuries to his abdomen and damage to his kidneys, and he ruptured his spleen so badly that it had to be removed.
One of the driver’s registration plates had fallen off during the crash, but although the perpetrator was traced and a criminal case opened against him, he has gone missing.
Determined to obtain some sort of reparation for his gruelling ordeal, Greg approached the RAF and instituted a claim on his own. He was offered R106 000, which he considered insufficient for all the pain and trauma he had endured. He proceeded to enlist the services of de Broglio Inc, whose top-notch team of experts promptly went to work, conducting tests and compiling their reports.
During the course of their examinations, de Broglio’s doctors diagnosed an additional injury that Greg had sustained in the accident: a hypoxic brain injury due to blood loss, which could in turn have neuro-psychological repercussions.
This new discovery not only enabled Greg to be aware of his previously undetected brain injury and take action to address it, it also bumped up the potential value of his claim.
When the matter went to trial in the Johannesburg High Court on 12 June 2009 it could not be finalised, but de Broglio’s team did manage to settle the merits of the case 90% in their client’s favour – as opposed to the 75% he had originally been offered. The matter will resume in the High Court in due course.
Conservative estimates are now that Greg’s claim is worth at least a million Rand – thanks to the sterling work done by the attorneys at de Broglio and the crack team of experts that they bring onto every case. And he can breathe a lot more easily, having been made aware of a brain injury that may have gone unnoticed until it was too late to treat it.
* Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.