Archive | August 2009

SCA rules that dependant who died contemporaneously with breadwinner not a collateral benefit

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the second edition of Independent Actuarial Consultant’s (IAC) monthly newsletter.

Via this newsletter we will keep you updated of all the latest case law relating to motor vehicle accidents and the quantification of damages relating to personal injury claims. In keeping with our stated aim of empowering you, the reader, we are proud to announce that we will be presenting training seminars in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town during the recess period of 28 September 2009 to 2 October 2009.
For more information please refer to the content underneath the heading “TRAINING’ hereunder.

THE ROAD ACCIDENT FUND v MONANI and another 2009 (4) SA 327

The respondents (plaintiff’s a quo) instituted action against the appellant (the Road Accident Fund) for damages for loss of support flowing from the death of the deceased in a motor vehicle accident.

At the time that he died he had a duty to support and supported his “wife”, the plaintiff’s and another child dependant (Thando) who died in the same accident. The question for adjudication by the Court a quo was whether the death of Thando in the accident constituted a collateral benefit resulting from the accident, for which the Plaintiff’s should not be compensated. The parties were agreed that should the Court find that the death of Thando was not a collateral benefit resulting from the accident, Plaintiff’s would be entitled to receive damages in a further
sum of R 163 428.00, the parties having already agreed the plaintiff’s were entitled to a sum of R 1 389 531.00.
The Court a quo held that the additional amount of R 163 482.00 was payable and gave judgment for the amount of R 1 552 959.00. The fund appealed against the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeal where counsel for the fund contended that the award to the surviving dependants had to be restricted to what they would have received had Thando not died.

During his argument he was willing to concede that if, hypothetically, Thando had died at any time before the deceased then her share would have been distributed between her mother and surviving siblings. However, he was not willing to concede that if Thando had died after the deceased the same situation would have applied save for the such maintenance as would have been appropriated for her maintenance between the date of the deceased’s death and the date on which she died. Counsel hung his hat on the contention that there appeared to be no decided cases in our law which dealt with the computation of compensation in a dependant’s claim where one or more of the dependants died simultaneously with the breadwinner. He therefore asked that the matter be considered res nova.

The court held that the defendant had correctly conceded that if Thando had died before the date of delict, the plaintiff’s would have been entitled to the extra amount of R 163 428.00, and that would also have been the position had she died at any time after the date of delict (save for any amount of maintenance that would have accrued to her between that date and date of her death). There could therefore be no basis, in logic or otherwise, for a contention that since her death occurred contemporaneously with the deceased, the amount of R 163 482.00 should be excised from the award.

Appeal dismissed.

TRAINING

Mr Johan Olivier of IAC, a qualified senior actuary and head of our MVA department, will be presenting training sessions on the computation of a simple loss of income and loss of support calculations.

The aim of the sessions are to acquaint practitioners with the basic premise of an actuarial calculation thereby empowering you to understand the effects of the various factors that play a part in the computation of loss of income and support. This will result in a better understanding of the process and also aid in the settlement of claims.

The dates for the training sessions are as follows:

  1. Johannesburg 29 September 2009
  2. Pretoria 29 September 2009
  3. Durban 30 September 2009
  4. Cape Town 1 October 2009

Further information will follow. Hope to see you all there.

Sending us an Instruction
Our dedicated full time professional team receive instructions by any of the following means:

• Fax : (021) 422 4378,
• Email : damagesclaims@iac.co.za, or
• Post : PO Box 1172, Cape Town, 8000

And I leave you with two parting jokes for the month –
“Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?
A: The lawyer charges more. “

Lawyer: “Let me give you my honest opinion.”
Client: “No, no. I’m paying for professional advice.”

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