M was injured in a motor vehicle accident on 9 December 2000. She instituted an action for damages on 26 June 2003, based on the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996. The particulars of claim were limited to past medical expenses, future medical expenses and general damages.
Subsequently, on 16 October 2006 and 15 March 2007, M sought to amend her particulars of claim by the introduction of two additional heads of damage, namely past loss of earnings and future loss of earnings. The RAF, in turn, amended its plea by introducing a special plea to the effect that M’s claim for past and future loss of earnings
had become prescribed in terms of s 24 of the Act.
The question for decision was whether or not the summons served in June 2003 interrupted the running of prescription in respect of past and future loss of earnings, even though these two heads of damage
were not originally claimed.
The Court found in favour of M and dismissed the prescription plea by the RAF. The reasoning was as follows:
M’s right to recover past and future loss of earnings formed part of her original cause of action to claim compensation. The original summons interrupted prescription and endured for the benefit of the entire right of action or claim.
The single wrongful act of the insured driver triggered for M one cause of action for all the loss or damage she suffered in consequence of the accident, including the loss of her past and future earnings. The claim set out in the amended summons was not separate and distinct from the claim set out in the original summons. The right of action relied upon in the particulars of claim, as amended, was recognisable as the same or substantially the same as that relied upon in the original particulars of claim.
Mntambo v Road Accident Fund 2008 (1) SA 313 (W)