How to lodge a claim
In the past weeks I have observed in the press that there was more coverage of motor vehicle accident occurrences.
Any accident has its casualties, meaning that some of the people affected may require the assistance of the MVA Fund. Accordingly, today’s column will focus on the basic information and/or documents required when people lodge a claim.
Firstly, I’d like to address the issue of the rightful persons to make a claim and later, the documents required by the Fund for an accident victim to have his/her claim registered and processed for compensation. The documents referred to here are required for all categories of claims, namely; personal injury claims, dependants claims/loss of support and funeral expenses claims.
Before we look at the persons allowed by the Act to make a claim, it is important to emphasise that claims must be submitted to the Fund within two years of the accident, with the exception of claims lodged on behalf of minors or legally incompetent persons (i.e. mental health patients or persons under curatorship).
Who should make the claim?
The person injured in a car accident can lodge the claim in person, if he/she is an adult with full mental capacity. If the injured person is a minor, the parents or guardian can make the claim on his/her behalf. A curator may also lodge a claim if the person is an adult without full mental capacity. Lastly, a person practising as an attorney may lodge a claim on behalf of the injured person. Emphasis must be put on the fact that it is only a practicing attorney who may lodge such a claim. The Fund in recent years has emphasised that a person does not necessarily need a lawyer to lodge a claim, for the reason that a fully fledged Customer Services Department is in place to assist members of the public or claimants in this regard. However, some quarters have misunderstood this to mean that the Fund is blocking claimants from acquiring the services of lawyers for claims. No. This is an incorrect assumption.
The necessary documents:
…if the accident victim is injured;
l Claim Form A
All claims must be made by completing the Fund’s prescribed claim form, Claim Form A, which is only available from the Fund’s offices. An original copy is issued by the Fund and claimants are not expected to submit photocopied forms. This form provides basic information on the claimant, the vehicles and parties involved in the accident, the date and place of the accident as well as the amount being claimed. Prior to submission, the form must have been taken to the doctor who treated the injured person/claimant after the accident. The form is taken to the doctor who fills in a medical report on the space provided.
Before being submitted to the Fund, the form must have all accompanying documents, as listed below. However, this does not apply where the victim died at the scene of the accident.
l Police Report
Prior to being given the form, the injured person must bring a police report which helps our Customer Services Department to establish whether one qualifies to claim, or whether the Fund has liability. The police reports should detail the circumstances leading to the accident, the vehicles involved, including the vehicle which was at fault. Therefore, if the person intending to claim was responsible for the accident, the police report will give an indication. For instance, if a person was driving under the influence of alcohol and lost control of the vehicle and in the process was severely injured, the police report will have that information, and our officers will be in a position to inform that person that he/she does not qualify to claim compensation for any loss or injury suffered. This report must be brought to the Fund when one comes to collect Claim Form A.
l Sworn Affidavit
This is an account written by the injured person in his/her own words. Its contents should bear tangible facts about the occurrence of the accident to enable our officers to reach an informed conclusion, while comparing it with the statement made by the police and other witnesses.
Here, claimants are discouraged from duplicating the police report, but should write an account independently.
Documents to prove medical expenses
To prove that one has suffered financial loss due to an accident, it is necessary to attach documents from institutions that provided a medical service. This could be through hospital or clinic receipts/bills. Where proven, these claims are reimbursed directly to the claimant.
Documents to prove loss of earnings
Where one contests that he/she has lost earnings as a result of injuries sustained in an accident, the Fund will require documents to prove this. These may be in the form of salary advice slips, tax returns or bank statements.
To be continued...
proof could be in the form of receipts of expenditure. These could be receipts from a morgue, for a coffin, or for a tent hired. These receipts must be attached to the claim.
I hope these answered some of the questions readers might have had regarding the lodging of claims. Enjoy the rest of the newspaper and remember to think safety when using the road.
For comments and questions, feel free to call or send messages to;
The MVA Fund PRO
Tel: 404 7161/2