Legal Articles and Guides
Personal Injury Law
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 A criminal charge levelled against one of the policemen was subsequently withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.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.
The SCA has found the eThekwini Municipality negligent in not providing adequate control and supervision to avoid injury to children at its popular beachfront water slide facility, News24 reports. The court overturned a previous decision by KZN High Court (Durban) Judge Esther Steyn that the municipality was not liable for the severe facial injuries suffered by an eight-year-old boy who fell after being bumped by other children on the unsupervised municipal water slide.
Attorneys have gravitated to medical malpractice claims as a source of revenue after changes in compensation offered by the Road Accident Fund. Medical malpractice underwriters are questioning the sustainability of their insurance products following the explosion of the medical litigation industry, says medical rapporteur Melody Emmett in an analysis in Business Day.
The National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA‚ comprising about 300 members‚ said that parlours have had to shut their doors since the RAF introduced a panel of preferred undertakers to conduct the funerals of accident victims. According to a TimesLIVE report association secretary-general Nkosentsha Shezi said: ‘When a family has claimed from RAF for the funeral of a relative that has died in an accident‚ the fund gives the family two choices – you either take the funeral parlour that we are going to give you or you conduct the funeral using a parlour of your choice but we are not going to pay for your claim.’
Sending out a stern message to drunk drivers, a Durban Regional Court magistrate has given a young man who caused an accident in which three people died a 20-year prison sentence. According to a News24 report Magistrate Anand Maharaj, passing sentence on Kriesen Moodley (24), said: ‘We need sentences that can have the effect of changing the mind-set of such drivers who become lethal weapons.’
More than R5bn in gross provisions recently announced by gold companies for a silicosis settlement raises hopes that the six-year battle for more generous payments for ill ex-mineworkers may reach an amicable conclusion in the next few months, according to a Financial Mail commentary. Lawyers for former mineworkers started to gather claimants for a class action suit in 2011, after the Constitutional Court ruled that a former employee of AngloGold Ashanti could sue for R2.6m for compensation for the silicosis he contracted.
A Wesselsbron woman must keep her opinions on Toyota SA to herself, Judge Corné van Zyl has ruled, issuing a prohibiting order in the Free State High Court. According to a News24 report, Elmarie Wepener (53) may not publish defamatory comments, threaten or harass Toyota employees or interfere with Toyota's operations, said Van Zyl.
Prophet Paseka Mboro Motsoeneng has lost his legal battle against Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) chair Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva. According to a report on the IoL site, the Incredible Happenings Church leader this week had his Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) application, to interdict Mkhwanazi-Xaluva from defaming him in public, struck off the roll.
Three relatives of former policeman Mohamed Ebrahim were arrested yesterday and appeared in Durban’s Commercial Crime Court. Ebrahim is facing charges of defrauding the Road Accident Fund R6m after allegedly pretending to be a quadriplegic. A News24 report notes the state alleges his wife Asha (51), son Junaid (32) and daughter-in-law Nerosha Nohar (33) defrauded the fund out of R435 000 through invoices they submitted for payments for ‘taking care’ of him.
A ‘fake quadriplegic’ accused of defrauding the Road Accident Fund of millions of rands appeared briefly before the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court yesterday. The Mercury reports Mohamed Ebrahim (56) was expected to apply for bail but his case was postponed to later this week. Ebrahim stands accused of feigning injuries, as a result of an accident the state has alleged he was not even involved in, so that he could claim from the RAF.
The Gauteng Health Department has pleaded poverty before the Constitutional Court, claiming that paying out lump sums for medico-legal cases would financially cripple it, but failed to substantiate this with evidence. In what a Business Day report calls a landmark case, the department applied to have the court determine if the ‘once and for all’ common law rule prohibited the payment of damages by way of future services.
A young boy who suffered a head injury after being knocked down by a car in November 2006 has been let down by the law after his attorney first accepted a paltry Road Accident Fund settlement and then apparently stole the money. A News24 report says while the fund considers the matter closed, new lawyers are now attempting to make good and reopen the case to secure a better payout for the child.
Taxpayers will have to pay for the pain inflicted on a Mahikeng man by the police, which started with a complaint by a neighbour that he had assaulted his stepdaughter (3). According to a report on the IoL site, Petrus Tshisi was left with injuries across his body, before he was thrown into a police vehicle and locked up in a cell for a few hours. Tshisi claimed R1.2m in damages from the Police Ministry, saying the incident not only left him with physical scars, but post-traumatic stress disorder as well.