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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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I was involved in a serious MVA 2years ago. According to the

Customer Question

I was involved in a serious MVA 2years ago. According to the police officer on scene the front brakes disintegrated and not one of the airbags deployed, I have photographs to prove it. It was a new vehicle not even 3 months old. What do I stand to do from a legal perspective?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
Good day.

This is an info request to assist you better. Please continue on this thread.

Did this accident involve another vehicle?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No a vehicle turned in front of me and in trying to avoid it I attempted to overtake on the left of the road (the vehicle turned in front of me from the right). As a result I caught the verge of the road and the vehicle rolled ending in the opposing lane. As a result I spent nearly 3 months in hospital with severe injuries and have a permanently reduced quality of life as I can no longer run as result of lack of balance and co-ordination (I was very active sport wise). As mentioned it was a brand new vehicle and if possible would like to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle due to the safety features not working. I have approached attorney's regarding assistance with a RAF claim but would like to pursue the matter further.

Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
This vehicle that turned in front of you, would you say that this driver drove negligently?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes I would as the gentleman involved was unemployed at the time and considering everyone on scene did not believe I would survive I believe he supplied the police with a false witness statement. One of the things he mentioned in his statement is that he was waiting for oncoming traffic before he turned yet my vehicle ended up in the opposing lane. And there are NO other witness statements. Surely considering I ended in the opposing lane I would of hit the oncoming traffic at the very least but yet no "oncoming" traffic was available for statements at the scene.

Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
Have you claimed against the RAF?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

At this point no I have just received an email from the attorney's I approached saying they are unable to assist me.

Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
Did they provide a reason for their failure to assist you and would this relate to a possible claim against the manufacturer or the RAF?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The assistance from them was only for the RAF claim they don't deal with any other legal actions. The answer supplied was that from their perspective the merits are against me.

Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
You could possibly claim against the manufacturer. I am not, however, a motor vehicle expert and if it can be established that the disintegration of the brakes is not due to any defect, the argument cannot be made that the accident could have been avoided. This leaves you with the non-deployment of the airbags.

For you to have any claim against the manufacturer, you would have to prove that your injuries would not have been as extensive as they are now, was it not for the non-deployment of the airbags.

In addition to this, if it can be established that the accident was caused due to any kind of negligence from your side, this will diminish your claim in terms of the Apportionment of Damages Act (provided the manufacturer pleads this, which they no doubt will). This means that the court will assign a percentage of blame against you and another percentage against the manufacturer, which means the amount you claim is reduced by the percentage of the blame that can be attributed to you.

The problem is that you are basically back to square one with this as well, since you are again going to have to approach a personal injury attorney and hope that they do this on contingency. Litigation like this is extremely expensive, since a large amount of experts is to be appointed and paid to establish negligence, to establish the amount of your claim etc. Unless you have hundreds and thousands of rands (literally), a trial like this, if not done on contingency, will probably bankrupt you long before you get to a court.

So, the only way to approach this thing is to keep shopping around until you find an attorney that is willing to take this on, on contingency.

I know that this is probably not the answer that you have hoped for, however, I hope that you can still get some value out of it. I try my best to provide you with a legally sound and accurate answer and sometimes, it is not always good news. If you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively. I do not get anything unless you rate the service.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Who could I approach that would then handle the RAF claim and the civil claim against the manufacturer on a contingency basis? Any names of firms would be of great assistance.

Expert:  WCLawyer replied 4 years ago.
I wish I could make a referral, but I am not allowed to make any direct referrals.

All that I can do is to point you to

There are a whole lot of Personal Injury Attorneys in South Africa and I think you will find that there are a lot more in your area than what you think.