A Claimant can claim general damages for pain and suffering and for loss of the “amenities of life” (impairment) as a result of an injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
In the case of accidents that occurred on or after August 1, 2008, a claimant can claim for general damages only if the injury is deemed serious.
Regulations under the Road Accident Fund Act set out a procedure that must be followed to determine whether a claimant’s injuries are serious.
A claimant’s injuries are not regarded as serious unless a doctor finds a 30 % or more impairment to his/her whole body, as defined in the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines.
If a claimant’s impairment is less than 30%, he/she may still qualify as having a serious injury in terms of the “narrative test”.
For the narrative test applies when the Claimant:
– Suffers “a serious long-term impairment” or loss of the function of a body part;
– is permanently disfigured;
– has long-term mental or behavioural disorders; or
– has lost an unborn baby.
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