Legal Articles and Guides
Personal Injury Law
A settlement between thousands of sick gold miners and the mining industry is possible before the end of the year, according to one of the attorneys for the sick mineworkers, notes a GroundUp report. Upwards of 100 000 mineworkers and former mineworkers, and their dependents, are claiming damages for contracting silicosis and/or TB from exposure to dust underground.
An academic, who chose to return to his family home to deal with the trauma of being accidentally exposed to HIV, has succeeded in showing his subsequent dismissal by the Vaal University of Technology was unfair. Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp ruled in favour of Dr Pieter Wynand Conradie.
The owners of a Cape Town home where a toddler suffered severe brain damage after falling into the pool have won their fight to avoid paying tens of millions of rands in damages, notes a TimesLIVE report. They went to the SCA after the Western Cape High Court said they should bear two-thirds of the liability for the accident because they had been negligent in leaving the pool gate open.
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has urged accident victims to claim directly from it, rather than turning to lawyers for assistance, says a report in The Mercury. The RAF’s Phumelela Dhlomo said the advantages of claiming directly far outweighed the disadvantages, as claims were processed a lot faster.
The Western Cape High Court has ordered Prasa to pay full damages to commuter Masibulele Rautini (27) for the serious injuries he sustained after being thrown off a fast-moving train while travelling to work in 2011. Three men armed with a gun and knife had demanded passengers’ cellphones and wallets, Rautini told the court, according to a Cape Times report.
The defendants in the Michael Komape case have already settled about R100 000 of the R3m claimed in damages by the Komape family after five-year-old Michael fell into a pit latrine at school and died. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, the family, with the help of advocacy group Section27, brought the lawsuit in 2015 against the Department of Basic Education and the Limpopo Department of Education.
Lawyers acting for thousands of miners suffering from silicosis and TB have called on the state to review legislation regulating compensation for those who contract occupational lung diseases on the mines, according to a report in The Star. Richard Spoor, from Richard Spoor Inc, told the Parliament's Mineral Resources Committee that there was an urgent need for the state to reconsider the compensation system.
The R1m defamation lawsuit launched by MTN boss Phuthuma Nhleko against Eskom and its former chief executive, Brian Molefe, has been settled out of court. The Star reports this is despite Molefe dismissing the lawsuit as ‘fake news’. Yesterday, Molefe and Eskom’s lawyer, Byron O’Connor, said the matter was resolved by agreement between the parties.
In what Norton Rose Fulbright’s Patrick Bracher and Sandra Sithole call a landmark judgment, the Constitutional Court has ‘left the door open’ for the development of the common law to have future damages in personal injury claims paid periodically and by way of services.
In a case which highlighted the growing burden of medical negligence payouts on state entities, the Gauteng Health Department didn’t help its cause when it failed to bring any evidence to the Constitutional Court on why the court should change the law to allow it to pay court-ordered awards monthly rather than a lump sum. Instead of paying R23m owed to a woman (DZ) for the medical care of her brain-damaged son‚ the department argued in the High Court, SCA and Constitutional Courts that negligence law needs to be changed to allow monthly payments.
More than 5 500 medical negligence claims have been made against the Health Department since 2014‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday. According to a TimesLIVE report, the number grows each year. In response to a parliamentary question by DA MP Anchen Dreyer‚ Motsoaledi said that 1 562 claims had been made in the 2014/15 year‚ 1 732 in 2015/16 and 1 934 in 2016/17. So far in the current financial year‚ 360 claims had been lodged.
A Cape Town woman appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday for allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old girl in what is likely to be the first case to test the ruling against parents hitting their children, reports News24. In terms of the landmark High Court ruling last week parents can no longer use the ‘reasonable chastisement’ argument to hit their children as a form of discipline.
A KZN High Court (Durban) judge has found the eThekwini municipality liable for damages suffered by a Port Shepstone woman, who says two metro policemen viciously assaulted her and called her a ‘kaffir’, notes a report in The Mercury. A criminal charge levelled against one of the policemen was subsequently withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. But the woman brought civil action against the municipality and Judge Jacqui Henriques found she had proved her case on a balance of probabilities.
The Road Accident Fund is being targeted by fraudsters who are said to be colluding with corrupt police officers and the organisation’s employees in order to get their hands on payouts, says a Cape Times report. It adds dishonest touts, doctors and lawyers go as far as fabricating claimants’ payslips and medical records or create fictitious dependants and customary marriages for the claimants in order to inflate cash payouts.
Motorist Geoffrey Merrick was handed down a three-year prison sentence for killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run in 2013 in what has been described as a landmark ruling, says a report on the IoL site. The Kuilsriver Magistrate’s Court also suspended Merrick’s driver’s licence for six months. In May 2013, Merrick crashed into Dr Koos Roux, who was cycling with his son. Merrick fled the scene. Police arrested him 10 days later when debris found on the scene matched his car.