- No win No fee – what does it mean?
We act in all personal injury matters on a “no win no fee” basis, which means we are paid upon the successful conclusion of the claim. This means that we are paid when you receive a settlement or award from a Court or Tribunal. If we take on your matter because it appears to have reasonable prospects, and then we investigate the claim further and gather evidence and it appears that there are not reasonable prospects, we will advise you of this at the earliest opportunity. In such circumstances you are NOT charged for the work done, or for disbursements incurred to date.
- Legal Costs – what will it cost?
The number one question for many people is “what will it cost?” This is a fair question.
Upon the successful conclusion of the claim you are entitled to have part of your legal costs and disbursements paid by the insurance company or unsuccessful defendant. The insurance company or unsuccessful defendant must pay your damages PLUS your legal costs. They will not pay all of the legal costs, but they will pay a large part of your legal costs. How much they pay depends upon the type of claim and the stage at which it resolves. In the event that there is a shortfall between what the insurance company or unsuccessful defendant pays and your actual legal costs, the shortfall will be deducted from your settlement monies. The shortfall is usually small in comparison to the amount awarded or offered for damages.
We will give you an estimate of the costs involved at the start of the matter, including what the insurance company is likely to pay, and if there is likely to be a shortfall in costs and how much the shortfall might be. As outlined above, any shortfall in costs is likely to be small and this will be deducted from your award or settlement monies at the conclusion of the claim.
Disbursements are amounts incurred for expenses such as fees for clinical notes, police reports, hospital notes, expert reports and medico-legal reports. These things are necessary to prepare your claim properly and to maximise damages.
Sydney Compensation Specialists will fund disbursements on your behalf in ALL matters, EXCEPT claims where an expert liability report is required. Expert liability reports are sometimes required in cases where liability is very contentious and where there are technical issues which require expert comment. These reports can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000, depending on the report and type of expert required. If your matter requires a liability expert we can make arrangements for the amount to be funded by an external disbursement funding provider. We can discuss this further with you if it is applicable. The majority of claims do not require the use of a liability expert.
- How long will my matter take to resolve?
This is a difficult question and is akin to “how long is a piece of string”. It depends upon what type of claim you have, what sort of preparation and evidence gathering is involved and how difficult the insurance company or defendant is in dealing with us.
As a general guide, most claims are completed within around 18 months. However, you should take into account that we cannot settle a claim until your injury has “stabilised”, that is, you have reached maximal medical improvement.
- What is the process if I have a claim?
This can be summarised as follows:
- We will have an initial conference with you, obtain all relevant information and give our preliminary view about whether you have a viable claim.
- If you do have a viable claim and would like to have us act on your behalf we will need to enter into a Cost Agreement with you (this is required by law).
- We can then go about lodging any claim forms which need to be lodged or notifying interested parties.
- The next phase is where we start to gather the evidence we need to substantiate your claim and make any other appropriate investigations.
- We may need to make medico-legal appointments for you, in order for your injuries to be assessed.
- We will deal with the insurance company or defendant on your behalf at all times.
- Once we have all the evidence (medical and other) that we need we will start to particularise your claim. This involves setting out claims for all relevant heads of damage and potentially preparing a Schedule of Damages.
- We will attempt to enter into settlement negotiations with the insurance company or defendant on your behalf, usually before the need for the matter to be litigated.
- If the matter cannot be settled informally, we will advise you further in relation to the litigation process.