Daily Dispatch

RAF ordered to pay teacher R3.1m in damages


THE Road Accident Fund will have to pay an Eastern Cape teacher severely injured and disabled in a 2010 collision R3.1-million in damages.

Busisiwe Tyam, 41, broke both her legs and suffered severe dashboard injuries to her knees when the car in which she was travelling smashed head-on into another car on the road between Komgha and East London.

Judge Jeremy Pickering said that prior to the collision Tyam was a fit and healthy individual who taught not only academics, but also softball and choir to her pupils at Cebe Secondary School in Centane.

After the accident, she was unable to walk without crutches and suffered severe discomfort if she had to stand or sit for long periods of time.

She will also have to undergo further operations to her legs as the bones have not properly healed.

Medical evidence showed that the dashboard injuries to her knees left Tyam with a more than 50% likelihood that she would develop future degenerati­ve changes of both knee joints and that she would experience incapacita­ting pain due to advanced osteoarthr­itis.

“Her injuries have impacted on every aspect of her life, including her personal care, home care, ability to care for her family, the level of interactio­n and physical care she is able to provide her children, her recreation­al function and her vocational ability.”

After the accident, the Cebe Secondary teacher was forced to take long periods of sick leave as she said it was impossible for her to do her job. She was eventually­transferre­d to an East London school but it didn’t help.

Judge Pickering said it was “wholly improbable” that the department would be able to adapt her duties to accommodat­e her disability and would likely board her. He ordered that she be awarded R2.56-million for future loss of earnings. He said she should also be awarded R600 000 in general damages because of the devastatin­g effect the injuries had had on her life.

He ordered the RAF to, within 14 days, issue an undertakin­g to Tyam to meet future medical treatment costs.

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