Broken promises delay young crash victim’s payout
Lengthy delays between the settlement and payment of a Road Accident Fund claim are not unusual, but a Johannesburg man is astounded at the Fund’s unprofessional behaviour in making and breaking countless promises to pay him.
Travis Moonsamy* approached de Broglio Inc with an RAF claim on behalf of his young daughter after she was injured in an accident. The matter was settled in court on 15 September 2009, for R30 000. Travis was pleased with the outcome and with the service he received from the team at de Broglio Inc.
However, the RAF dragged its heels in paying the money over to the attorneys. Sadly, such delays are not unusual, despite the Fund being generally required by law to pay out a claim within 14 days of a matter being finalised. The attorneys at de Broglio Inc are accustomed to persistently chasing the RAF for payments long after the deadline for transferring the funds has lapsed.
Several months after his claim was finalised, a frustrated Travis took it upon himself to contact a claims handler at the RAF, who promised that payment would be made by the end of February 2010. However, shortly after giving him this assurance that everything was on track internally, the RAF contacted de Broglio Inc to request another copy of the victim’s case file!
The transfer was not made in February, as promised. After more dilly-dallying and playing of the blame game on the Fund’s part, and repeated urging on de Broglio Inc’s part, the claim was eventually paid by the RAF on 30 March 2010 – six-and-a-half months after the matter had been settled in court.
Travis, who has his own accident claim pending, feels that the RAF was dishonest and deliberately stalled him. “They kept making excuses and kept me waiting,” he says. “I started phoning them once a day and putting pressure on them. Only after I threatened to come to their offices and see them personally, did they take me more seriously.”
Says Michael de Broglio: “It is very unfortunate that the Road Accident Fund’s staff sometimes manage to create such hostility between clients and attorneys by continually giving them incorrect information.
“I have had cases where my clients have been told that our firm has already been paid by the Fund, when the case has not even been settled! In that matter, what was actually reflecting on the Fund’s system was a payment to their own attorneys, because they were denying liability in the case and taking it to court. That just goes to illustrate the extent of incompetence in their ranks.”
He advises clients to be patient and accept that the claims may take a considerable amount of time to be paid by the Fund to the attorneys, unfair though this delay may be. However, clients will be paid promptly from de Broglio Inc’s side as soon as those funds are received.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality