South African roads are notorious for their potholes and states of disrepair. Our country sees many road accidents every year being caused by these poor conditions. Even a small pothole can cause lasting damage to a vehicle, and many vehicles can crash because of the damage or as a result of trying to avoid it. Who is responsible when you are in an accident that was caused by bad road conditions?
Claiming for road accidents
Unlike road accidents caused by negligent driving, the Road Accident Fund cannot help you with an accident caused by poor road conditions. The RAF is in place to assist in providing compensation for those who have suffered serious loss and injury at the hands of a negligent driver. If no driver was at fault in your accident, and the accident was purely caused by damaged or unsafe roads, you can still claim. For accidents occurring on a national road, you can claim against SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency) for compensation. SANRAL will process your claim in the same manner as any other car insurance claim. If the accident did not happen on a national road, you may claim against the particular municipality or Department of Public Works who are responsible for that road area.
How to tell when to claim
If your vehicle was damaged because of a pothole, road works or any other damaged or unsafe condition of the road you were driving on, or if it was damaged in an accident directly caused by the poor road condition, you can claim for compensation for the cost of repairs to your vehicle. If the accident caused injury to yourself, your passengers or other people using the road, you can also claim for the cost of current and future medical expenses to treat the injuries. You may also be able to claim compensation if the accident caused trauma, pain and suffering. A lack of warning signage around the dangerous area of the road that caused your accident will help solidify your case, and you will need to obtain photographic evidence of this as well as the dangerous area itself and the damages and injuries caused. For expert advice with road accident claims, contact Paul du Plessis Attorneys.