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Car accident victims struggle for compensation

by Staff reporter
12 May 2022 at 06:28hrs | Views
MS Sibangeni Moyo (53) from Bulawayo's Tshabalala suburb says whenever she closes her eyes, the vision of an accident which killed her sister and left her wheelchair-bound comes back.

She was involved in the crash on August 28, 2021 at around 7PM when she and other family members – nine adults and a baby – were coming from her nephew's funeral in Matobo.

Her brother was driving when his car was involved in an accident with another vehicle at a curve in Fourwinds suburb.

Ms Moyo's sister died on the spot while she as well as her nephew were paralysed, a condition which led to loss of their jobs and with it their livelihoods.

"When we were coming from a funeral as a family, we were involved in an accident that created another funeral while leaving some of us unable to walk.

There were nine adults  and a baby in the car.

My brother who was  driving managed to get the necessary medical attention.

"When we reached a curve at Fourwinds, just after Sethule lodge, a tipper hit our small truck, and my sister died on the spot while I got fractures on my legs.

Almost everyone sustained injuries, and we were taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where they failed to fix my feet back to position," she said.

Ms Moyo said her nephew also sustained serious injuries and is still struggling to walk.

"His legs were left skinless and skin grafting was required, he also lost pieces of his bones and there was a need to balance it with metal.

He stayed in hospital for six good months with the hope that he might get help from someone until he accepted that there is no money for his operations and asked to go back home," she said.

The two are now suffering from home.

Ms Moyo said the cheapest doctor requires about US$4000 for surgeries to prevent permanent paralysis while her nephew needs more than US$6000.

"About US$4 000 is required by the cheapest doctor I found in order to bring my feet back to their positions. Failure to get that amount soon means that I will have to stay in the wheelchair for the rest of my life.

The experience so far has been the worst.

"I am now dependent; I cannot be left alone in a house.

I still cannot believe that I am temporarily crippled with a possibility of being permanently crippled.

The thought of it brings chills down the spine.

Whenever I close my eyes, I see that accident taking place again and again.

If only I had the powers, I would turn back the hands of time, bring back my normal feet and my sister whom I miss so dearly," said Ms Moyo.

She said she is a single mother of four and she had always managed to take care of her children alone while employed at a local hotel.

Ms Moyo says after that accident she saw a new twist of life; things are no longer the same.

Her children who are supposed to be at school are roaming around at the house as they cannot go without school fees payments.

"The accident took away my permanent job, I can't even do some piece jobs without functional feet.

Literally I am useless. I can't even pay school fees for my children.

The oldest child is in Form Four yet she is 18 all because she could not register last year, as she sustained injuries and stayed a full month in hospital.

"The youngest should be doing his ECD but I couldn't enroll him, the two middle children learn at government primary schools so they just go without paying for now.

My sister's daughter now stays with me, but she is not at school, I do not have the money," she said with teary eyes.

Ms Moyo is in desperate need of help from well-wishers and she can be reached on 0774437321.

On the verge of breaking down, Ms Moyo expressed disappointment she had never been compensated after the accident.

"I did not seek compensation then, because we were in hospitals when the whole thing happened. We also do not know who to approach for compensation," she said.

While Ms Moyo has lost a lot due to an accident, she is not the only one. Most accident victims in the country are left suffering in different ways while relatives are left with the pain of looking after them.

But what must one do to be compensated after an accident?

In an interview, Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) public relations and marketing manager Ringisayi Batiya said accident victims can only be compensated depending on the type of insurance policy for the vehicle they were travelling in.

She said this is regulated through the Road Traffic Act.

"If you have a valid motor insurance policy or public passenger insurance you are entitled to compensation. If the policy covers third parties only, then only third parties are compensated and not the policyholder.

There is also compensation for funeral expenses and a death benefit to the beneficiaries. Medical treatment before death is also covered.

Benefits and compensation limits differ based on the type of motor insurance policy," she said.

"If it is compensation under the Public Passenger Insurance policy, it is paid out through the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe.

Compensation paid under Public Passenger Insurance is for medical expenses for bodily injury, disability benefit as well as funeral and death benefit in the event of loss of life."

Ms Batiya explained the necessary requirements for an accident victim to lodge an insurance claim.

"A policyholder should submit the required documents to their insurer at the earliest convenience as follows: Insurance claim form obtained from the insurer, police report, driver's licence (the individual's and the other party should the accident involve two or more drivers), proof of insurance, vehicle registration book, three quotations for vehicle repair or replacement, medical treatments quotes or receipts, death certificate in the event of loss of life.

If all required documents are presented with a conclusive police report, the claim is paid out," said Ms Batiya.

"If the claim is for Public Passenger Insurance, the owner of the public service vehicle should lodge a claim for compensation with the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe.

However, in the event that the owner of the vehicle does not lodge the claim, a victim may lodge the claim on condition that he or she has access to the required documents."

She added that if one is not compensated or believes that they have been unfairly treated yet they are entitled to compensation, they should lodge a complaint with the ICZ on +2638677007101.

According to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), human error contributes to 90 percent of road accidents in the country.

TSCZ Acting director of operations, Mr Claudious Muzuwa said ICZ deals with compensation issues and as a council they are working tirelessly to implement measures to curb road accidents.

"To limit road accidents TSCZ is training drivers on good driving skills that will help them, we are running awareness campaigns educating the public.

We also have a number of projects which we are trying to implement.

We are shifting from the old way of doing things, we want to look at systems like approach where we are involving everyone and not just drivers because someone who is not a driver today can wake up a driver the following day," he said.

The World Health Organisation last year embarked on a journey of reducing accidents by at least 50 percent by 2030 worldwide.

Globally, road traffic accidents contribute nearly 1,3 million deaths and an estimated 50 million injuries annually.

Source - The Chronicle
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