If you are involved in a road traffic accident when you hire a car in South Africa, undoubtedly the last thing on your mind to begin with is compensation.
Dealing with the shock of the accident and the practicalities of notifying your insurer and getting medical treatment quite rightly takes priority.
But as the immediate aftermath subsides and you are faced with a financial shortfall as the result of the accident and perhaps ongoing injuries, it is worth considering whether you could make a claim for compensation.
Many people feel a little mercenary making a claim but if you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s only fair that you shouldn’t end up out of pocket as a result.
This article will help to explain how to find out whether you could claim compensation following a road traffic accident.
Who can claim
If you were in a road traffic accident where you were not at fault you could be entitled to receive compensation.
If you were the driver and were hit or collided as a result of another motorist’s actions, it is worth submitting a claim for compensation. However, you do not need to have been the driver in order to make the claim. Passengers or even pedestrians who were involved in the accident can also submit claims for compensation.
It doesn’t matter where you were in relation to the party at fault; if you were involved and were not to blame for the accident, the legal system recognises that you should not have to sustain losses of any kind as a result of another person’s actions.
It doesn’t matter if you were the innocent driver, a passenger or a pedestrian; if you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault you may be eligible to claim compensation.
What kind of losses are taken into account
If you suffer from injuries as a result of the accident, a compensation claim will pay a sum commensurate with the severity of the injuries. Factors taken into account include the duration of the injury and whether you have fully recovered as well as the treatment undergone as a result. If you have not made a full recovery, the compensation payout will also take into account any future impact your injury is likely to have, including on your ability to work.
As well as the actual injury, a compensation claim will also cover extra medical expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. For example, the costs of prescription and over the counter medication can be included, private treatment such as physiotherapy and even parking for medical appointments.
But compensation claims cover far more than just medical treatment and injuries.
Although you may think your insurance will adequately pay for any costs, the truth is that you will still end up out of pocket. In addition, you will have less control over how and where your car gets mended.
A compensation claim will cover the cost of repairing your car and the cost of procuring a new one, if it is a write-off. The hire charges for a rental car can also be added to a claim as well as the fees for recovery and storage.
Any insurance excess can be claimed for plus the increase on your policy as a result of the claim.
A compensation claim can also cover any loss of earnings as a result of either your injuries or because you were without your vehicle or crucial equipment which may have been damaged in the accident.
A compensation claim will cover a wide range of expenses – including parking costs for doctor’s appointments needed as a result of the accident.
The fact that road accident claims can help to cover the costs of any injuries you may have suffered is fairly well-known but you don’t have to be seriously hurt in order to have a valid claim. Even cuts and bruises can be uncomfortable and take a while to heal whilst emotional distress and shock can take even longer.
It’s important to remember that if you are in an accident, it isn’t just your injuries which can be covered by a compensation claim, there are many other kinds of additional expenses which can be claimed back.
A compensation claim is a way of redressing the balance and making up for any losses you may have suffered for something which wasn’t your fault. Now doesn’t that sound fair?