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The once-and-for-all rule for delictual damages

Published

2017

Tue

11

Apr

 

 

 

 

Patrick Bracher, Director
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.

 

 

 

A person who claims for damages sustained as a result of injuries negligently caused by someone else has a single, indivisible cause of action and must sue for all damages in one claim.

This proposition was reasserted in the context of a prescription allegation regarding a Road Accident Fund Act claim.

The RAF Act only allows an injured person to claim general damages if it is certified to be a serious injury by a medical practitioner.

The claimant in Manukha v Road Accident Fund pursued a claim for medical expenses and other actual losses but only delivered the form certifying her injuries as serious in order to claim non-pecuniary damages more than three years after the event.

The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an allegation that the general damages claim had been extinguished by prescription. The claim for damages had been lodged in time even if the general damages had only been pursued later.

The once-and-for-all rule prevents paying future loss of earnings and medical expenses by future payments when the losses accrue, and needs to be looked at by the legislature in that context.

 
Source: Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.
 
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