Road Accident Benefit Bill changes everything

road accident bill South Africa

Road Accident victims paid out regardless of fault…

A draft Road Accident Fund Scheme Bill was recently published for comment by the department of transport (DoT) as part of the new “no fault” scheme of benefits, the Bill establishing an office of an administrator to implement and subsequently administer the scheme of injury and death benefits.

The idea of a no-fault approach to compensation, says DoT, is in part to respond to the problems identified with the current fault-based approach, and also to improve and simplify claims procedures so that claims are more speedily dealt with.

This is distinct from the present “insurance-based” procedure where the question and quantum of liability can drag on for years in the courts, the department says in its background document.

Social security first

The Bill seeks to provide for a social security scheme for the victims of road accidents for bodily injury or death and will exclude liability of certain persons otherwise liable for damages in terms of the common law.

DoT says the proposals state that “no civil action for damages in respect of bodily injury or death”, in the case of a road accident, be pursued against any owner’s vehicle involved, drivers or employers of drivers.  Rather, payment is made in terms of the defined benefits of the new scheme regardless of who caused the accident.

DoT says the new Bill forms part of an initiative to replace the third party compensation method with a system that is “reasonable, equitable, affordable and sustainable”.

Public comment was open on the new draft Bill until early September and considerable debate will probably ensue in parliamentary hearings on the question of the extent of the benefits schedule and quantum.

 

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