The issue of legal costs is a concern to most people, usually because of a lack of understanding of the legal process.
In order to explain the issue of legal costs there a couple of simple terms that need to be explained:
1. Plaintiff – This is the person who has been injured and takes the claim.
2. Defendant – This is the person who defends the claim and is the person from whom the Plaintiff is seeking compensation.
3. Litigation – This is the court process through which the Plaintiff processes his claim against the Defendant.
At the outset, it is important to understand that where a person is successful in bringing proceedings for personal injuries, most of the costs are borne by the other side i.e. the losing party.
Where a Plaintiff is successful, the substantial part of the legal costs will be paid for by the other side such as solicitors professional fees, engineers fees, medical report fees and other expert report fees.
Where experts are required to come to court to give evidence, most of these fees will be paid by the Defendants, where the Plaintiff is successful.
In some cases, there are instances where a shortfall occurs between what is ordered to be paid by the Defendants and the actual costs in relation to solicitor’s professional fees and expert fees incurred. In such circumstances, the Plaintiff will be responsible for these fees.
Settling Out of Court
It is always in the client’s interest to consider settlement of a case before the matter proceeds to a court hearing.
The issue of costs should be discussed with your solicitor before any settlement is considered by you as it is important for you to know exactly how much compensation you will receive after all costs etc have been paid.
Reputable solicitors will have no difficulty in making this information available to you before you decide to settle your case without the need for a court hearing.
Where this happens, expert witnesses expenses such as doctors, engineers, actuaries, rehabilitation consultants etc will not be incurred as such expenses are only necessary if the case proceeds to a hearing in court.
Your solicitor is obliged to furnish you with an explanation and the basis for all legal charges when he takes on your case. (Section 68 of the Solicitors Amendment Act 1994).
We hope that the explanation in relation to legal costs in making a claim for personal injuries and we would be happy to discuss the issue with you in confidence and without obligation.
If you wish to do so, please contact us on 01-6266477 or complete our on line assessment form and we will be happy to advise you without any obligation.