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RAF Loss of Support Claims: When and how much can you claim

RAF Loss of Support Claims: When and how much can you claim

In the tragic event that someone who supports you financially is killed in a road accident, you may be eligible for compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). A RAF loss of support claim may cover support that you’ve personally lost and/or financial support for the children of the person who has died.

This is according to DSC Attorneys partner Kirstie Haslam, who says that it is important to know who is eligible to claim for compensation for loss of support, documents you’ll need to support a claim, current limits that apply to RAF loss of support claims, and the average loss of support claim amount according to the latest RAF report.

Who can claim for loss of support from the RAF?

Haslam says that a claim for loss of support can be made if these conditions apply:

  • the deceased person was not solely responsible for causing the accident
  • the deceased person had a duty or legal obligation to support the dependant(s)
  • this person was providing the dependant(s) with support at the time of death
  • the dependant(s) lost needed support due to the person’s death.

“A duty to provide support is recognised, for example, between a parent or guardian and their children,” she explains. “This duty is also recognised between spouses, fiancés and common-law partners. In other words, a life partner can claim – with or without having been legally married to the deceased.”

She points out that if the dependant was also earning an income at the time, this will be taken into account, to establish the extent to which both income earners were contributing to the household.

“A claim can be made on behalf of child dependants by the victim’s spouse or by a legal guardian,” she says.

In the tragic event that someone who supports you financially is killed in a road accident, Haslam says that you may be eligible for compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). “A RAF loss of support claim may cover support that you’ve personally lost and/or financial support for the children of the person who has died.”

What’s needed to support a RAF based support claim Legal advice and representation

Haslam says that it’s highly recommended that as the first step, you contact attorneys with experience in handling RAF claims.

“The attorney can advise on the amount to claim, create a strong case to support your claim and represent your interests in settlement or court proceedings,” she adds. “This dramatically increases the likelihood of a successful claim and a rewarding pay-out.”

Required documents

A claim for loss of support must be supported by specific documents.

If death occurred at the accident site, Haslam says that no medical records are required. If the victim died in hospital, however, a medical report will be needed.

You’ll also need the following documents:

  • certified copies of ID documents for the victim and claimant
  • a death certificate
  • post-mortem reports
  • a marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • birth certificates of dependant(s)
  • financial statements
  • salary slips
  • last will and testament (if applicable)
  • income tax returns for the deceased
  • the final liquidation and distribution account for the deceased.

Limitations on claims for loss of support Cap on how much you can claim

In a loss of support claim, the compensation that may be awarded for past and annual anticipated losses is capped at a maximum value.

The limit was first established in 2008, as R160,000 per annum. However, Haslam says that this value is adjusted quarterly for inflation, based on the consumer price index (CPI).

For example, the adjusted limit set to apply from 31 January, 2022 is R315,504 per annum.

Details of the new, adjusted limits are published quarterly in Government Gazette notices. They may also be available via the RAF Media Centre.

Time limits on loss of support claims

If the identity of the driver responsible (or partially responsible) for the accident is unknown, claims must be made within two years of the date of the accident. If the identity of this driver is known, the time limit is three years.

Average RAF loss of support claims

The amount you can claim from the RAF will depend on the case, your circumstances, the income and earning trajectory of the breadwinner and his or her dependants. The RAF’s latest annual report stated that the average loss of support claim in 2020 was for R450 307.

RAF claims for funeral expenses

“You can also claim from the RAF to cover the funeral expenses of a family member who was killed in a road accident,” says Haslam. “If the family covered these costs upfront, they can claim from the RAF for reimbursement.”

Similar time limits to those for loss of support claims apply to claims for funeral costs.

What funeral costs are and aren’t covered

  • The RAF will cover the following funeral costs:
  • transportation of the body
  • provision of the coffin or burial shroud
  • preparation of the body (including embalming)
  • storage of the body
  • arranging for issuing of a death certificate
  • burial or cremation of the body
  • hiring of equipment to lower the coffin into the grave
  • grave fees.

The RAF won’t cover expenses such as catering, flowers, transport for attendees, funeral programmes or tombstones.

What you need to support a claim for funeral costs

To support a RAF claim for funeral costs, Haslam says that you’ll need your ID; the ID of the deceased; a death certificate; a post-mortem report; and a copy of the accident report. Medical records and an embalming certificate may also be required.

You’ll also need an invoice from the funeral parlour.

 

 

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