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Personal Injury Claims

For the past five years Du Toit Attorneys have handled in excess of a thousand personal injury claims.  These claims usually pertain to injuries sustained during vehicle and train accidents, however we also deal in medical negligence by doctors and hospitals.  When claims of this nature are handled by our firm we find that the clients generally have the same concerns.  These concerned can be summarised as follows:

Costs?

  It is very costly for a client to fund their own claim and the costs, to take the matter on trial, could easily exceed R100 000.  Our firm will, should the client elect this option, access the claim and should we belief that the client has a valid claim we will institute the claim at no expense to the client.   This is done in terms of the so called “Contingency fee agreement”.  In terms whereof our firm will carry all the costs of the trial and should we succeed in the recovery of any amount on behalf of the client we will charge 25% + VAT as our fee, on any amount  recovered.  All expenses incurred will also be deducted from the capital amount recovered, but the amount received on taxation will always be refunded to the client.  The client will therefore receive two payments.  Should we fail to recover any amount on behalf of the client, the client will receive “no account of whatsoever nature” for legal work performed.  Terms and conditions apply and you are requested to contact Du Toit Attorneys should you have any further queries in this regard. 

How serious must I be injured to have a claim?

  Any person who has sustained a serious injury could possibly have a claim in vehicle accident.  In a train accident you will have a claim irrespective of the seriousness of your injuries.  Whether you have sustained a serious injury or not you could still have a claim for medical expenses and/or a loss of income.  Our experts will access you injuries to determine whether you have a serious injury and they will determine whether you have a possible future loss of income.

 

Can a scholar or student suffer a loss of income?    

 Yes, when a minor is injured in an accident the parent could institute the action on behalf of the minor.  That minor could still suffer a future loss of income.  This could be due to the fact that the minor could be rendered unemployable or due to the fact that the minor has sustained injuries of such a nature that he/she could be found unfit to perform the job best suited to them

How long does it take to finalise a claim?

  Personal injury claims take notoriously long to finalise, but 95 % of all our claims were finalised within 3 to 4 years.  This delay can usually be attributed to the delay in obtaining all necessary documents from the Hospital where the patient was treated, Police stations and off course the delay in obtaining court dates due to congested court rolls.  Currently it takes at least one year to 18 months to obtain a trial date from the moment the application is made to the Registrar.

Can I claim if the accident was caused due to my fault?

  All claims will be assessed by us and should it be found that you were fully to blame for the accident you would not be able to claim whatsoever.  If the accident was only partially caused by your negligence then you could still have a claim.  The amount awarded to you will then be reduced by the percentage by which your negligence contributed to the accident.

Can I still claim if the accident occurred more than three years ago?

  Your claim against the Road Accident Fund and Metro Rail will prescribe after three years.  That means that after three years you cannot claim anymore because the claim has lapsed. I belief that my claim should have been settled for a bigger amount by my  previous attorney.  

What should I do now?

  If you belief that your previous attorney was negligent in reaching a small settlement with the Road Accident Fund, Du Toit Attorneys will at your request examine all the documentation in your claim and we will advise you on the settlement.  We can also submit your matter to an advocate who specialises in personal injury claims to give you comprehensive legal opinion on the conduct of your previous attorney.  Unfortunately we are, during the initial assessment, not prepared to pursue these types of matters on a contingency fee agreement and the perusal of the documentation and the consideration of you claim against the attorneys will be charged on an hourly basis.  Once we have assessed your claim we might review this position and you will be advised accordingly.  

My Father or Mother passed away in an accident.  Could I have a claim ?

  Our firm will assess you claim and should it be found that your parent was not to blame for the accident we will institute a so called “ loss of support” claim against the institution concerned.  The minor or spouse would be entitled to claim for the support they would have enjoyed had the spouse or parent not passed away.  Once again the same principles highlighted hereinbefore would apply to our assessment of these claims.

Should you require any of our legal services please don't hesitate to contact us on 012 664 9400 for more assistance.