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Road accident benefit scheme: What is it?

The Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) is intended to replace the current fault-based system administered by the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Under RABS, accidents will be treated on a NO FAULT basis. Inherently, a no-fault scheme means that all drivers that can prove they have been in a motor vehicle accident, will be able to submit a claim to RABS.

Although this may sound good on face value, what this means is that all road accident victims will be able to receive a structured benefit even if the accident was your fault.

Studies have shown that although a no fault system may reduce administration by up to 20% it drastically increases the volume of claims and the amount of compensation to be paid resulting in the value of the benefits having to be reduced in order to keep the scheme sustainable.

Currently, in the event that you caused the accident, you are excluded from claiming from the RAF, but victims that do qualify to claim, receive substantially higher payments as compensation.

The problem with RABS

RABS is based on the same model as that of The Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner (WCC) where for example an employee is injured or falls ill while on duty a claim could be lodged at the WCC, having the employer available to champion the employee’s cause.   However, under RABS the victim will have no representation as he / she would have to lodge the claim themselves.

RABS DOES NOT allow you to recover your full loss suffered and drastically decreases amounts and benefits payable to you.

All Benefits fall within the Administrator’s discretion and may be reduced or withdraw by the Administrator at any time – no long term financial security is offered by RABS.

Sign our petition about the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) now.

IN SUMMARY …

A PERSON DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, THAT CAUSES AN ACCIDENT THAT LEAVES YOU PARALYZED AND UNABLE TO WORK AGAIN WILL HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS YOU TO CLAIM FOR DAMAGES.

YOU, AS THE INJURED PARTY, HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE CLAIMS AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL THAT CAUSED THE ACCIDENT.

What are some of the negative aspects of the RABS?
  • You will have no right to approach a Court should you feel that the Benefits on offer are not satisfactory
  • NO FAULT equates to DRASTICALLY reduced benefits.
  • The Administrator will continue to be financially funded by our fuel levies. Due to the introduction of a NO-FAULT scheme, the numbers of claimants will increase, thereby increasing the financial burden of the current Fund.
  • The RABS will make payments directly to medical and healthcare service providers. Which medical practitioners and care givers you are entitled to use in the event of an injury will no longer be your choice but will be dictated by the RABS Administrator.
  • The RABS will take over all existing and future RAF claims as well as the current RAF staff.
  • The current RAF scheme is operated inefficiently, and has a deficit of more than R130 million. Who will be responsible for that debt? You, the fuel levy tax payer.
  • There will no longer be lump sum payment settlements made to individuals who have experienced severe injuries and damages. The RABS will make monthly payments to the beneficiaries with a maximum pay out of R44,000 annually. This may sound like a lot of money to someone who earns the basic South African wage, but consider the fact that you may lose a limb and the ability to do your job for a lifetime. R44,000 a year is poor compensation for a lifetime of lost income.

Note also that these payments will not increase in line with inflation and will cease the moment a beneficiary dies leaving his/her dependents vulnerable to the financial implications of losing a breadwinner without having recourse.

What difference can an attorney make?

Attorneys are officers of the Court and bound by ethic to assist clients to the best of their ability in administrating a proper claim which is well researched and prepared in instances where clients are seriously injured.

Attorneys act objectively and in the best interest of their clients far better than any victim going the direct route in allowing the RAF to play JUDGE and JURY to his or her futures.

Attorneys will take care of the onerous and expensive work of getting police and medical reports sorted for people who are through injury or circumstance, unable to do so. Attorneys insure that claims substantially comply and engages the services of the best possible experts to advise and ensure that a victim receives the full benefit of compensation on offer.

Comparative table of RAF vs RABS claims
Road Accident Fund
Road Accident Benefit Scheme
Provides full compensation paid in lump sum amount. Provides reviewable structured benefits defined small payments (no long term financial security).
Fault-based system: certain victims are excluded from claiming if you caused the accident. No-fault system: all victims can claim, even if you caused the accident.
CAPPED COMPENSATION (RAF)
DECREASED BENEFIT AMOUNTS (RABS)
Claims could be settled in 120 days A victim will have to wait 240 days to receive confirmation of a possible benefit.
Compensation forms part of the estate. Benefits are forfeited upon death of beneficiary.
Career pathing allowed. No career pathing allowed.
Benefits will be capped

The RABS will cap benefits to a maximum of R44,000 a year, paid in monthly instalments.

A tariff limiting the expenditure on medical and associated costs will be introduced. This effectively means you will no longer have the right to choose which doctor or hospital treats you as the medical practitioners and facilities you are entitled to use will be dictated to you by the RABS. Victims will also be liable to pay the excess between the contracted amount and the actual amount payable to the service provider.

Comparative table of RAF vs RABS benefits
Road Accident Fund
Road Accident Benefit Scheme
Provides lump sum payment of money. Provides structured, reviewable benefits
Fault-based system: certain victims are excluded from claiming if you caused the accident. No-fault system: all victims can claim, even if you caused the accident.
CAPPED COMPENSATION
DECREASED BENEFIT AMOUNTS
Actual value of past and future medical costs Health care benefits payable in accordance with specified tariffs determined by the Minister of Transport
Actuarially calculated past and future loss of income or support up to a maximum of R228 430 p.a. Income and family support benefits to be determined by the Minister of Transport
General Damages for pain and suffering for severely injured victims.
Actual funeral expenses in the event of death Funeral benefits up to a maximum of R10 000 only

The RABS will not require you to determine which driver is at fault. Each driver will be compensated equally based on the extent of their injuries.
The RABS will cap benefits to a maximum of R44,000 a year, paid in monthly instalments.

Medical expenses and associated costs will be capped. Funeral expenses will be capped at a maximum pay out of R10,000.00. This is extremely low when you consider that in the 2013/2014 RAF Annual Report, the average funeral claim is R11 245.00. Funeral expenses have increased by 11% since 2010.

Certain individuals will not qualify at all. If you earn more than R219,820.00 per annum you will only qualify for emergency medical care which will be covered by your medical aid, effectively amounting to lip service only as no further Benefits will be on offer.

Foreigners will be limited to emergency medical care only.

Loss of income in the event of death from a road accident

In South Africa we have a multitude of individuals who currently support family and extended family members. Under the new RABS, should you as a beneficiary die the support benefit are forfeited as benefits are not transferable and the benefits will cease.

As an individual, you will no longer be entitled to general damages i.e. money for pain and suffering caused.

Currently, you have the right to an attorney who will champion your case on an individual basis. Contrary to what some may have you believe, the current scheme only entitles an individual to such claims in the event that they are absolutely necessary i.e. if you have lost a limb, have suffered brain damage or will be unable to work effectively for years to come. Attorneys take your case to court and fight to receive a lump sum payment that is suitable and adequate to make up for your pain and your suffering. Under the suggested RABS, these rights to claim fall away.

Should you lose your ability to earn an income, the current system allows you to claim as much as possible having regard to the cap applicable. With the assistance of an attorney on your side, you may rest assured that the attorney will do everything possible to ensure the best possible results in the victim’s favour.

Under the new RABS, the loss of income cap will be set at R44,000 a year, payable in monthly instalments. No lump sum payments will be make. If you die in a road accident, there will be no payments made to the people you may have been supporting.

The current RAF scheme is struggling to cope administratively and is hugely burdened with fraud. The new RABS will mean double the case load as well as the administration required to pay all medical doctors/hospitals that are on their books entitled to take care of patients injured in road accidents. These medical professionals will also not be assured of receiving full payment as medical claims will be capped by the RABS.