Driver in single vehicle accident entitled to claim from RAF‚ appeal court says
A driver involved in a single motor vehicle accident and who is not an employee of the owner of the insured vehicle is entitled to claim compensation from the Road Accident Fund.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) made this determination last week as it dismissed an appeal by the fund.
The fund is a state-supported insurance funds that provides compensation to the victims of road accidents and is funded by the fuel levy.
Mogamat Abrahams was involved in a single vehicle accident in a vehicle owned by his father’s employer in 2011. The accident occurred as a result of a tyre burst‚ which caused the vehicle to roll over.
Abrahams launched a claim for damages against the fund with the High Court in Cape Town. He claimed the owner of the vehicle was negligent in not properly maintaining the vehicle‚ which resulted in the tyre burst. However‚ the fund filed a special plea.
The fund said because there was no employer-employee relationship between Abrahams and the insured owner‚ Abrahams was not entitled to claim any compensation in terms of the Act. It also alleged that Abrahams’s use of the insured motor vehicle was unauthorised.
The court dismissed the fund’s appeal with costs in June last year. The fund then applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The full bench of the SCA dismissed the fund’s claim.
Acting Judge of Appeal Tati Makgoka said it was the negligent or wrongful conduct of the owner of the vehicle that Abrahams relied upon to sue the fund.
“As such‚ the focus of liability is not on the driver‚ but on the insured owner.”
Makgoka said the facts of this case differed from what was usually encountered‚ where two vehicles collide.
He said in such instances‚ the fund stepped into the shoes of the negligent driver.
“Here‚ the (fund) steps into the shoes of the insured owner‚ whose conduct is alleged to have been negligent.”