A stuntman who was injured during a stunt in an ice cream van during the filming of a commercial, has lost his legal bid to claim R20m in damages from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

Pretoria News report says Etiene du Toit turned to the Western Cape High Court where he claimed damages against Farm Film Productions after he had signed a contract with the company to do a television commercial.

The agreement required Du Toit to ‘jump or ramp’ a vehicle modified to resemble an ice cream truck over Long and Leeuwen streets in Cape Town. 

In terms of the agreement, Du Toit would be comprehensively insured for any loss, damage or injury sustained in connection with rendering the services contracted for.

Du Toit alleged he was injured when the vehicle’s chassis and/or steering column and/or suspension and/or driver’s seat collapsed upon landing or impact.

He said he sustained spinal and head injuries.

He blamed Farm Film Productions for the incident, saying the company had failed to ensure the vehicle was suitably modified for the stunt.

After issuing of summons against the production company for R20m, the company filed a special plea alleging that Du Toit’s claim stood to be directed at the RAF, rather than Farm Film Productions.

The Pretoria News report says following this, Du Toit sued the RAF in his action for damages.

The fund, however, noted an exception to the claim. The grounds that underpin the exception are that Du Toit’s amended particulars of claim lack averments necessary to sustain a cause of action under the RAF Act.

The fund argued that Du Toit did not claim that he was driving a vehicle for the purposes of the Act, on a road contemplated by the Act, and in a motor vehicle for the purposes of the Act.

Instead, he drove a specially modified vehicle for a television commercial.

Acting Judge NE Ralarala said that the ice cream truck was clearly a stunt vehicle designed for ramping and jumping.

Du Toit was a stunt driver, in an enclosed film set or location.

Ralarala ruled it cannot, therefore, be argued that at the time he was driving a motor vehicle for the purposes of the Act.

The judge found that the claim lacked averments necessary to sustain a cause of action against the RAF.

Full Pretoria News report in The Star