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June 21, 2005

RAF wins case against deaf claimant

From: Independent Online - Cape Town,South Africa - Jun 21, 2005

By Fatima Schroeder

A deaf mute has lost a claim for damages against the Road Accident Fund, with the Cape High Court finding he failed to prove his head injuries were received in a motor accident.

Arnold Klaasen, 33, of Grabouw, claimed he was knocked down by a bakkie 10 years ago.

But the fund alleged his injuries had probably been inflicted with a blunt object, such as a spade or a rake.

Witness Nigel Bosman, testifying in support of Klaasen's claim, said Klaasen was hit by a bakkie in June 1995. He said he, Klaasen and two other people were on their way home after watching the World Cup Rugby on television at a Grabouw home. Klaasen was walking along the pavement when a speeding bakkie mounted it, knocked Klaasen down, and sped off.

Bosman denied Klaasen had been injured in an assault.

An expert on orthopaedic surgery, who by 2000 had treated about 10 000 pedestrians and 30 000 other people injured in road accidents, said he believed Klaasen's injuries were consistent with the impact of a blunt object and not a traffic accident.

It was improbable for a pedestrian to be hit by a speeding vehicle and receive a fairly localised injury to the left upper face.

After being injured, Klaasen was unable to work because of his poor mental capacity.

His counsel argued it was unlikely Klaasen and Bosman had contrived a false story.

A police officer called out to the scene testified he had not seen tyre tracks, glass or blood.

Justice Rosheni Allie found Bosman's evidence was contradictory in several aspects. Also, one would have expected the injuries to Klaasen to have been more severe and widespread, she said. She dismissed Klaasen's claim with costs.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on June 21, 2005

Published on the Web by IOL on 2005-06-21 06:42:00

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