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4 common legal disputes in South Africa.

The law is sometimes tricky to navigate. Finding yourself on the wrong side of a dispute can affect your life in many different ways.

South Africa has one of the best Constitutions in the world. It’s important that justice always be served. The problem is that not everyone can afford to have expensive lawyers on retainer.

1. Motor vehicle collision

Reversing out of your driveway, or worse, experiencing a near fatal collision. Accidents happen within a split second. The initial trauma is usually followed by an uncontrollable rage. Do you know what to do in a situation like this?

When it comes to motor vehicle collisions, there are five important things to know.

  • What you must do after a motor vehicle accident.

Call the police or report the accident at the nearest police station.
Cooperate with all emergency personnel and police who respond to the accident.
Take photographs or a video of the following: the scene of the accident, from all angles; the surrounding area;the injuries; and any damage to property.

  • What you must NOT do after an accident.

Don’t move the vehicle; unless it is necessary for safety or required by the police.
Stay safe, don’t risk further injury by standing or waiting in an area near traffic or other safety hazards.
Do not leave the scene of an accident until the police tell him/her to do so.
Do not throw away any potential evidence, such as defective products, important documents, or torn or blood-stained clothing.

  • If you can claim damages to your motor vehicle from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

You have the right to claim for damages caused by injury or death from the RAF if you are a victim of an accident as a result of the wrongful (negligent) driving of another person.

  • Establish if the other driver was negligent.

A person alleging negligence will have to show that the other driver did not act reasonably in the circumstances, that the driver had the ability (and opportunity) to foresee damages s/he caused and reasonably could have taken steps to prevent such damages.

  • What happens if a person is not insured?

If a person is involved in an accident, he/she will be able to claim damages from his/her insurance. The insurance company themselves claim the costs and payments from the person who was responsible for the damage done to their client’s vehicle, or other property.

2. Tenant /eviction disputes

Many people live in rented accommodation all over South Africa. Landlords and tenants must respect and uphold each other’s rights.

Property law is an intricate field that aims to protect the rights of everyone involved in property transactions.

Even with careful planning, there’s no way to guarantee that all disputes will be avoided; sometimes you’re liable to find yourself in a confrontation whether you like it or not.

By closely following the lease agreement, you can possibly avoid this scenario by ensuring that neither party exceeds the boundaries set forth within the contract. Resolving these types of disputes often requires litigation because any breaches of contract will need legal deciphering and reconciling so as to determine who gets what, if anything.

3. Personal injury

Personal injury law refers to a specific set of procedures related to civil cases based on a cause of action. This specific area of law is vital for those who have been injured because of the negligence or wrongful conduct by a person, company, government entity or another organisation.

4. Labour disputes

A labour dispute is a disagreement between a worker and his employer while negotiating from anything like wage rates. This mainly includes terms or working conditions such as job tenure, benefits or other issues related to contract negotiations.

In most cases, the most important thing is to keep communication lines open between both parties. One of the most effective ways is through a consensus-based process where the parties will sit down and arrive at a resolution that works for all involved.

Of course, if that fails, then arbitration or adjudication through a tribunal or labor court may be necessary.


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