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Department of Transport Publishes Policy on Road Accident Fund Benefit Scheme

June 9, 2017

Department of Transport

Government’s policy on the Road Accident Fund (RAF) benefit scheme has been published in the Government Gazette for general information.

According to an introduction to the policy, it sets out a framework for the proposed new motor vehicle accident benefit scheme that will replace the current motor vehicle accident compensation system administered by the RAF.

The policy can be found in notice 815 of Government Gazette 34765 dated 21 November 2011.

A draft policy for restructuring the RAF was published during February 2010 for public comment.

Road accident benefit scheme legislation will provide “a form of indemnity to those who are at fault in causing a road accident”, whereby it will no longer be possible for the victim to claim from the wrongdoer the balance of common law damages suffered in excess of the benefits provided by the scheme.

According to the policy document, the current compensation system is open to abuse and its structure vulnerable to “perverse incentives” that serve to discourage injured accident victims from returning to work or undergoing rehabilitation.

Under the current system, every effort is made to secure the highest possible monetary reward from public funds by presenting the claimant to the RAF as “a permanently disabled and maimed person irrespective of their actual condition”.

The policy proposes that the scheme should provide structured and defined benefits to those seriously affected by road accidents in accordance with social insurance principles, as opposed to liability insurance principles as is currently the case.

The benefit scheme will pay medical service providers for their health services to injured persons, while income and family support payments will be made regularly to the beneficiaries to ensure that future needs are met. One-off lump sum payments will no longer be made.

Because a no-fault model for road accident benefits will be adopted, a beneficiary will no longer need to prove fault on the part of a driver. It is anticipated that this will expedite the settlement of claims by eliminating opportunities for disputes requiring legal intervention.

According to the policy document, the scheme will expand “the social security safety net” and will form part of government’s envisaged comprehensive social security system.