Many people are understandably unclear about the process of making a personal injury claim and frightened of the potential legal costs of going to court.
When considering the question of legal costs in respect of a personal injury * matter, there are two completely different systems to consider.
Injuries Board Legal Costs
The first, and for many injured people the only system they encounter, is the system in the Injuries Board. Here, solicitors charge their own clients a fee. The Injuries Board system doesn’t allow for the recovery of the costs of legal representation from the paying party. While we can’t speak for all offices, how we approach this in almost all cases is to agree a set fee, in advance, with the client. Our aim is to be competitive in setting that fee, and we’re pretty confident that a survey of the market would show that we are. In addition, while we do not make our fee conditional on the outcome of the case- win, lose or settle, we’ll still have done the same work for you, after all- we do delay payment of our fee until the completion of your claim. If you like, you can give us a call on 01-6351580, or better still, contact us using our online form and we’ll be able to tell you exactly how much it will cost to take your claim.
Litigation Legal Costs
In Ireland, as in the UK, the unsuccessful party in a personal injury or accident claim case usually has to pay for the legal costs on both sides. (The USA has a different system.) This means that if you are successful in your case, the defendant has to pay your legal expenses in addition to your compensation award.
Some costs are not routinely covered, and these include a portion of the witnesses’ fees, and in particular, expert witnesses’ fees. You will likely have to pay these sums out of your compensation award, or otherwise out of your own pocket.
However, it is important to realize that most personal injury cases never reach court at all. Instead, they are successfully settled outside of court, meaning that the Defendant offers you an amount of money that you accept in satisfaction of your claim. Reaching a settlement agreement with the other side saves you from having to appear in court and giving evidence, and from the stress of additional delays, travel and time spent on something you’d rather put behind you.
If your solicitor is able to reach a settlement with the other side, that agreement will normally stipulate that the Defendant pays your legal expenses. Settlement also means you avoid many of the witness and expert witness fees in the case. For all of these reasons, settlement is often the best possible outcome in personal injury cases, and the outcome most solicitors will strive for, depending on the details of the case.
Your solicitor will discuss the costs of litigation with you at an early consultation.