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The Thespian’s Toe’s vs RAF

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An injury to a person’s toes would not necessarily be regarded as a serious injury in a claim against the Road Accident Fund, unless you are a male thespian.

A thespian was a passenger in a motor vehicle collision as a result of which he suffered open right metatarsal fractures and a malunion of the right little toe metatarsal head.

A claim was thereafter instituted against the Road Accident Fund in terms of section 24 of the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996.

In quantifying the claimant’s damages, he was referred to various experts, including an orthotist. Following an analysis of the claimant’s posture and movement, using the zebris FDM-T System, light was shed on the effects of the injuries suffered by claimant, more specifically his ability to perform his pre – morbid occupation, as a thespian.

According to The World of Biomechanics[1], the zebris FDM-T System consists of a treadmill ergometer with integrated, calibrated, measuring sensor matrix. The stance analysis measures the force distribution and posture. According to the claimant’s stance analysis, his body centre of gravity was displaced to the left side with the left leg taking 53% of his weight. This affected his sense of balance.

Furthermore, a gait analysis was performed on the claimant and it was concluded that the excessive outward rotation of his feet and excessive inward collapse of his medial gait line caused an inward collapse of his knees which resulted in an extra strain on his ankle, knee, hip and lower back. This affected the claimant’s ability to carry heavy loads, dancing, jumping and standing for long periods.

Even though the injuries were orthopaedic, it was the report of an orthotist which provided clarity on the extent to which the claimant’s pre-morbid occupation was affected. The matter was amicably resolved with the Road Accident Fund and the claimant was compensated for his loss of income and general damages.

When quantifying claimants’ claims, it is important that legal practitioners engage the relevant experts to assist the courts in articulating the effects of claimants’ injuries with certainty and clarity. This will assist in the speedy finalisation of matters.

[1] The World of Biomechanics 2021, The zebris FDM-T System for stance and gait analysis, viewed 18 October 2021 ‹https://www.zebris.de/fileadmin/Editoren/zebris-PDF/zebris-Prospekte-EN/FDM-T_Prospekt_en_120901_72dpi.pdf›

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