Don’t Lose Out! Fight Back Against Debt Expiration

what happens when a debt prescribes south africa

Ever owed money but waited too long to claim it? You might be a victim of “prescription.” Here’s what you need to know:

What is Prescription?

Think of it as an expiration date for debts. After a certain period without you claiming the money owed, the law says you can’t get it anymore. The debt simply “prescribes” and disappears.

How Long Do I Have to Claim?

It depends on the debt! Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • Most Debts: 3 years (breaches of contract, damages, etc.)
  • Car Accidents: 2 years (hit-and-run) or 3 years (identified driver)
  • Work Injuries: Report within 12 months to your employer
  • Mortgages & Judgments: 30 years
  • Cheques & Promissory Notes: 6 years

Important Note: Even for 3-year claims, you usually need to notify the government within 6 months from the due date.

When Does the Clock Start Ticking?

The clock starts when the creditor (the person owed money) knows who owes them (the debtor) and why they owe it.

Interrupting Prescription:

There are two ways to stop the clock:

  • Debtor Acknowledges the Debt: If the debtor admits they owe the money, the clock resets.
  • You Serve a Summons: Filing a legal claim officially interrupts prescription.

Don’t Let Your Claim Expire!

If someone owes you money, don’t fall into the trap of waiting too long to claim it. Think of it like a carton of milk in your fridge. There’s a date printed on the side, a deadline for safe consumption. Prescription acts the same way for debts. It’s a legal expiration date. If you wait too long to claim the money owed to you, the law says you can’t get it anymore, just like that spoiled milk. The debt simply “prescribes” and vanishes into thin air. This can be a frustrating situation, especially if you have clear proof (like a loan agreement or signed contract) that the money is owed. Unfortunately, once a debt is prescribed, even the strongest evidence won’t help you collect it in court. So, the key takeaway here is to be proactive. Don’t let your hard-earned money disappear due to something as avoidable as a prescription. If someone owes you a debt, take action as soon as possible. Remember, time is not your friend when collecting what’s rightfully yours.

Need Help Fighting Prescription? We Can Help!

Our team of experts can assess your situation and determine if your claim is still valid. We can also assist you in claiming your debt before it’s too late. Contact us! Don’t let your money disappear – fight for what’s rightfully yours.

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