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<< February 2005  | March 2005 |  April 2005 >>
Publicity
It was good to see that The Star gave some good publicity to the RAF cause yesterday - 3 articles - and in this day and age, any good publicity is surprising.  Of course, the RAF have their own Communications department and one of the mistakes attorneys have made is not engagaing publicists.  I am hoping that the Gauteng Law Council will change that soon and hire publicists on a trial basis - the profession really needs this type of professional expertise and advice.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 03-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Medico legals in RAF Matters
Colleagues are giving us more and more reports of various medico legal specialists complaining to them about the delays in settlements.  While this is quite predictable, what is unfortunately compounding the issue is that it appears in many instances these experts are being supplied with information by the Road Accident Fund.  Unfortunately, in most cases, the information appears to be inaccurate and in some cases there is even an intrusion into the agreement reached between the doctor and the attorney.  For example, one doctor whose agreement with his attorney provides that he is paid for his medico legal report once the bill of costs has been paid, was given advice by an official of the Road Accident Fund that this is an inappropriate way to settle matters and that in fact the specialist should be paid from the capital!  In many other instances, specialists have been told that the matter has been settled, where not only has the bill of costs not been settled, not only has the capital has not been settled - but the attorney is still awaiting a settlement offer!

 Clearly, there are some problems with the records department, or alternatively all of these doctors are horribly confused.  Whatever the situation is, we would suggest that you do advise all of the specialists that you work with that there are currently delays, that the problem does appear to be resolving itself - however slowly - and that it is all a question of time.  Unfortunately, as we discover with our clients, this type of advices does not tend to placate human beings and we are in a most undesirable situation where we are now coming under attack from even the experts that we utilise.  If however, we all do our bit and keep them informed, and they hear what is the same tale of woe from every attorney, and unfortunately it is, then hopefully we will find a more patient approach being adopted.  We are aware of certain cases already where, on the basis of advice given by the Road Accident Fund, the medico legal specialists have issued summonses against attorneys.  Whether they will have a right of recourse later, when they discover that they have brought the case on the basis of faulty information supplied to them, or whether anybody at the Road Accident Fund will stand up and take responsibility for giving such incorrect information, is of course an entirely different story.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 08-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
RAF quantum

Creating havoc in your life - watch out for the RAF's new Quantum of Damages book.  It binds all claim handlers, at the threat of disciplinary action, from this Friday, 11 March 2005, to a schedule when it comes to offers - or what it refers to as "tenders" (applies to their attorneys too?).

If a handler wants to make a higher offer because the claim merits it - and he or she does not want to be disciplined - they can do so.  Oh, but the catch - it must first be approved by a Manager - and wait for it, the Regional Manager.  Ha!  The chance of that offer coming soon?

Guess the over crowded courts, which aren't exactly eager to see RAF matters are going to be seeing a few more!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 09-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Memorandum relating to book

Here is the full text of the Memorandum to staff which accompanied the book:

MEMORANDUM

RE:           DIRECTIVE ON APPLICATION OF BOOK OF QUANTUM

 

On 24 February 2005, the Board approved the contents and implementation of the use of the Book of Quantum.

 To effectively meet its legislative mandate the RAF must compensate road accidents victims in accordance with the principles of delictual liability, in a manner that is fair and equitable. To ensure that claimants are compensated justly, fairly and impartially, it is critical that the evaluation of such compensation be not only reasonable but also consistent.

 To accomplish the uniform payment of fair, equitable and reasonable compensation, it is directed that with immediate effect general damages must be assessed on the basis of the guidelines specified in the Book of Quantum. In instances where:

 

1.      the injuries sustained are not dealt with in the Book of Quantum; or

2.      the amount recommended for general damages is lower or higher that the parameters in the Book of Quantum,  

 the amount to be tendered for general damages must be approved by both a Manager and the Regional Manager.

 Any member of staff who fails to make offers of settlement for general damages in line with the parameters of damages prescribed in the Book of Quantum or fails to obtain the approval of a Manager and the Regional Manager when making offers in the two instances referred to above will be subject to disciplinary action.

 This directive must be applied with effect from 11 March 2005. This gives everybody enough time to familiarize himself or herself with Book.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 09-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Calls and colleagues
Yesterday was one of those eventful days when you get to speak to a few of your colleagues - in a professional sense.  Some very interesting personalities out there - Defendant's attorneys, Counsel and Plaintiff's attorneys.  One question I was asked a few times during the day is how do I make the time for newsletters and articles etc.  One of the answers lies in the fact, because I am not paid for it, that I do not take calls relating to the articles or work.  The JAA has full time staff, SAAPIL has full time staff as does the Law Society and I really can't write articles plus be besieged with calls on them.  Some attorneys ignore that, and I in turn ignore their calls.  In fact, thats not true - my staff are trained not to even bring me the message.  Sadly, there are ignorant colleagues out there - although its mainly their secretaries and sometimes the only thanks you get is a blasting for not providing back up support to them!
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 10-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Young attorneys in the profession

The Road Accident Fund newsletter went out today - and with some new contributions for a change.  Leigh de Souza contributed two articles to the newsletter and it was much appreciated.  I have done my best to get young attorneys to get involved in the profession over the years - and largely without much success.

Without beint too critical, a some have been my friends, its been very hard to find people who can put in some time for the profession and stay the course - and in some cases some cannot do either!  The rewards aren't great of course - its not much different to being a Small Claims Court commissioner either - and its no wonder that many don't make the grade or last.

On the other hand, I am always hopeful - so lets hope Leigh does keep contributing and finds the JAA and the profession a stimulating sideline to her work.  Its good, in any event, to have a different perspective and >

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 14-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
3G, MTN vs VODACOM and laptops

Sunday night, with Human Rights Day ahead is a strange time to write an article - but I have learnt, when its in your head - get it out - otherwise you never do! 

I spent a bit of time following up on 3G tonight and, holding MTN shares as I do (I bought at R23 and quite honestly I see this as a 5 year, R100 share) I would have hoped they were more up to date.  R599 is the cost of the Vodacom product which for 1 gig a month is a bit expensive, but with the LSSA AGM coming up in Cape Town and me enjoying taking my laptop into meetings and using it, if MTN don't launch their product in a few days, I won't have much option but to sign up with Vodacom.  MTN told me their product will be called "Edge" but no other info and really, on something like this, you would think they would launch products at similar times.  I initially changed from Vodacom to MTN because Vodacom have a shocking signal at the bottom of the suburb where I live - a few blocks away in busy, vebey 4th Avenue, the signal is great, but not where I am.  MTN had a full signal - until last month.... so now they are both pretty useless and I am tired of that, "Hello, I can hear you, can you hear me?" conversation when ever I asnwer my mobile .... I prefer the word cell, but better go with the term I am told is more accurate!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Sunday 20-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
LLM Graduation

Last night was my graduation, and fun it was too to be back at Wits 11 years after my last graduation!  There was a lot of time I never thought I was going to get there and I can tell you one thing, its pretty hard when you work all day and night, to sustain anything else over two years.  Degree number 3 took its toll, but at least I have my Masters now!  Even an RAF Defendant attorney to witness it - Fareed Jassat - only 2 weeks after ripping apart a client of mine who made a poor impression on all of us once his real earnings came to light!

In any event, in the pic with me is my Mom just outside Wits Universities Central Block.  What I found noticeable is that when it came to the LLB graduation, white males are almost non-existent and the ladies, and the profession has a number of stunners joining it, seemed to walk away with all the distinctions.  I think one or two men got their degrees with dinstinction, but the vast majority of them went to ladies.  Certainly a very different situation comapred to the pics of the old days and at Counsel today I saw one of the black and white "Class of 1978" pics that really had a very different picture to today's!  The profession is transforming itself and exciting times lie ahead of us.  What a wonderful country we live in, and how different to our neighbour holding "elections" today!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 31-Mar-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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