One of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury and other compensation claims revolves round the issue of costs. This is inevitable, perhaps, in the light of the expense of legal proceedings and the potential impact on an unsuccessful litigant. In this article we look at how the costs in a compensation claim are calculated and how they are dealt with when the case reaches its final conclusion.
Costs in Compensation Claims
Costs in compensation claim are basically decided into two parts. The first of these are the fees of your personal injury solicitor. The remainder are the disbursements that your solicitor has to pay out to third parties.
- Your Solicitor’s Costs
The costs of your personal injury lawyer cover all of the work that he or she has to do in pursuing your claim against the defendant. This work includes meeting with you, advising you about your claim, identifying any expert witnesses that are required, conducting telephone calls, writing and receiving letters, reading reports, instructing a barrister, where necessary, issuing proceedings to the court, making applications to the court on your behalf and attending court.
The disbursements that your solicitor is likely to incur in a personal injury claim include:
- Fees that are payable to the court for issuing your claim and for any interim applications that are required to be made.
- The fees of any expert who is instructed in relation to consultations with them, the preparation of their report, attending meetings with the solicitor and the barrister, attending court to give evidence and any associated expenses such as travelling and hotel charges.
- Personal travel and hotel expenses.
- The fees and associated expenses of the barrister instructed, including conferences, oral and written advice and representation in court.
No Win No Fee Arrangements
Despite the somewhat daunting impression that these costs can create for someone wishing to make a personal injury compensation claim, there is an arrangement, which many personal injury solicitors offer, that can cover a claimant’s exposure to legal costs. Under a no win no fee arrangement the solicitor will cover all his personal fees and the cost of the disbursements in the event that the claim is unsuccessful. If the claim succeeds, the insurance company representing the defendant will make a significant contribution towards the claimant’s legal costs. The claimant may also be called upon to pay a contribution towards the solicitor’s costs of up to twenty five per cent of the compensation awarded. The rationale behind this is that the extra payment represents an element of “reward” to the solicitor for shouldering the burden of responsibility for the costs of the case.
Legal proceedings can be very expensive, especially when several expert witnesses and one or more barristers are involved. The availability of no win no fee arrangements provides access to the court to claimants who do not have the means to fund the case themselves. Anyone who is considering making a personal injury claim and needs assistance to fund the costs should always seek the advice of an experienced solicitor like the team at Accinet, who offers a no win no fee arrangement to cover the costs of the case.