RAF Claim Process

Below are the processes involved in the RAF claim. Remember that on average, it takes three to six years for the RAF to pay out a claim. Depending on the circumstances, it can take longer. Once the claim has been settled in court and the RAF is ordered to pay compensation, it may take months before you receive the funds.

The RAF Claims Process Explained in Simple Steps

Here we outline the steps and time frames involved in the RAF claims process, to make it clear what claimants should expect and why a single RAF claim can take years to finalise.

Evidence collection

The first step is to collect as much evidence as possible in support of your claim. Witness statements, medical and police reports and invoices and statements relating to your injuries are all essential bits of information that can add weight to a claim.

Lodging the claim

Once all the supporting documents are ready, it’s necessary to complete and submit the appropriate RAF claim forms. Once the claim has been submitted, it’s registered on the official RAF claim system.

RAF investigation

At this stage, the RAF has 120 days in which to investigate your claim. They may request additional information or require that you visit a doctor or specialist they appoint for an assessment of your injuries.

In practice, the RAF seldom offers a settlement or resolves a claim within the allotted period. As a result, it can take weeks or even months longer for a case to progress to the next step.

Summons to trial

If you haven’t received a settlement offer once the 120-day period has elapsed, your attorney may issue the RAF with a summons stating that you’re pursuing the matter in court. The RAF is then compelled to make an offer or defend its decision in court.

Upon reaching this step of the process, you’ll want an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner. If the case does go to trial, you’ll need expert medical testimony to back up your claim. A good lawyer specialising in RAF claims will have access to the right experts, as well as the appropriate legal know-how and experience.

Setting a trial date

Once it’s clear that the matter is to be pursued in court, a trial date must be set. This can be very time-consuming, potentially taking many months. In South Africa, each division of the High Court has different pre-trial procedures to be complied with before a matter will be considered “trial ready”. Only then will a trial date be allocated.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to secure multiple trial dates – for example, if you have to go to court first to establish the liability or negligence aspect of a claim and thereafter the amount of compensation due.

What usually happens at this point is that the two parties – aided by medical and legal experts – try to negotiate the best possible settlement out of court.

If a settlement can’t be reached, the trial takes place and the claim is finalised. The trial itself may be drawn out, depending on the availability of key experts.

Settlement and payment

Because the RAF is currently facing cash flow problems, it may take time – in some cases, as long as 180 days – after settlement of your claim for the RAF to pay you the awarded amount. However, your attorney will assist you in holding the RAF liable for interest on any late payments.