Monday, 15 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalSCA: ‘Unreasonable and egregious’ 24-year delay in injury compensation

SCA: ‘Unreasonable and egregious’ 24-year delay in injury compensation

Police officer Roebel Botha, who was injured 24 years ago while on duty, is due to receive compensation after a legal fight with the Compensation Commissioner – which has now been resolved in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

A tribunal was directed to within six months determine the degree of injury and calculate the amount of compensation to be made. In the SCA judgment, Justice Caroline Nicholls said the Act had “a significant impact on the sensitive and intricate relationship among employers, employees and society at large”.

“The delays in finalising his claim are unreasonable, egregious and unexplained,” she said.

The Mercury reports that Botha had been a passenger in a police vehicle that collided with a minibus taxi while chasing a suspect. However, he had been injured before the car accident – he suffered a neck injury while training for the SAPS specialised reaction force.

The Compensation Commissioner refused to award compensation for the car accident under the Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act on the grounds he had a pre-existing condition. Botha then turned to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), which then set aside the decision of the commissioner.

The court declared Botha was 60% permanently disabled and ordered the commissioner at the time to calculate how much was owed to him, taking the 60% into consideration. The matter then turned to the SCA.

Botha argued the High Court erred in determining he was 60% permanently disabled. According to him, he was 100% permanently disabled. The Compensation Commissioner also appealed the High Court’s order and argued that Botha had failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the cause of his permanent disablement was the injury he sustained on duty and whether a causal link has been established; to what extent the pre-existing injury contributed to his permanent disablement.

In the SCA judgment, Justice Caroline Nicholls said the Act had “a significant impact on the sensitive and intricate relationship among employers, employees and society at large”.

The Mercury reports that the central issue in this appeal was whether there was a causal connection between the accident that occurred while Botha was on duty and the permanent disability he now suffered. The SCA evaluated the whiplash injury and muscle spasms from the car accident and the neck injury he suffered while training for the SAPS specialised reaction force. The consequences of the accident were severe and at the time he was diagnosed as having had a spinal stroke.

POLICEMENT COMPENSATION

The Mercury Pressreader article – Police officer injured 24 years ago to receive compensation (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Forensic investigation into 'rot' at Compensation Fund

 

Only aspect of Compensation Fund that worked now ‘duplicitously' destroyed

 

Further expert warnings against passing of Compensation Bill

 

 

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