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Personal Injury Claim

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA

The general procedure to follow when pursuing a personal injury claim

Below is a simple step - by - step guideline as to the general route one would follow when pursuing a personal injury claim:

  1. Procurement of Police Reports, Medical and Employment Records;
  2. Medico legal examinations and assess ments;
  3. Investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident with a view to identifying and proving negligence on the part of the wrongdoer;
  4. Completion and submission of any statutory claim forms e.g. in Road Accident matters, the RAF has 120 days to consider the claim after receipt of same and during which no Court process may be served on them;
  5. Instructions to Advocate to prepare Particulars of Claim and consultation with client and experts where necessary;
  6. Issue and Service of the Summons on the De fendant;
  7. Awaiting Notice of Intention to Defend and Plea/Defence document from Defendant;
  8. Plaintiff/Defendant’s Request for Further Particulars for Trial;
  9. Receipt of such Further Particulars;
  10. Plaintiff’s Replication, (answer) if applicable;
  11. Enrolment for a llocation of a trial date;
  12. Notice of Set down of the trial date;
  13. Preparation of Discovery Affidavits and Schedules (an affidavit by you confirming that all the documents that you have or have given us and which are relevant to your case are referred to in an annexure attached to your affidavit);
  14. Notice calling upon Defendant’s to discover;
  15. Notice to Defendants advising of expert witnesses we intend calling;
  16. Notice to Defendants delivering such expert witness reports;
  17. Various Notices to Defendants with respe ct to photographs, plans and documents which are intended to be utilized in the trial;
  18. Instructions to the Advocate on preparation for trial;
  19. Notice to the Defendant advising of trial date allocated;
  20. Letters to all experts, client and witnesses advising of trial date and court locality;
  21. Subpoenas where necessary to witnesses, police and hospital personnel;
  22. Inspection of the scene of the incident where relevant;
  23. Consultations with Counsel, expert and other witnesses and client;
  24. Attendance at court for the trial either on the issue of negligence or the value of the claim or both. It is usual in many claims for the issue of negligence i.e. referred to as the “Merits” to first be determined so as to avoid the risks of irrecoverable costs in the event that a trial on the value of the claim proves unsuccessful.
  25. Await Court judgment/Order;
  26. Await payment of damages. In RAF matters this can take many months usually requiring the Sheriff of the Court having to attach the RAF’s assets to extract payment.
  27. Preparation of the special account party and party bill of costs which a Defendant in a successful matter will be liable for. This process involves outside parties and court officials and usually takes a minimum of 3 – 6 months before these costs are determined;
  28. Recovery of party and party costs from Defendant;
  29. Payment of all disbursements; and lastly
  30. Accounting and payment to client.

There are a number of personal injury claims that can be made after an accident, including: Medical negligence claims; Road accident fund claims; Motor vehicle claims; Loss of support claims; Dog bite claims; Slip and fall claims; Assault claims; Product liability claims; Aviation, boating and rail accidents; and International claims.

Date: 22nd April 2014

Personal Injury Claim - Legal Information South Africa