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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
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Head of Practice Area - Serious Injuries
We aim to give you as much meaningful information as we can about the costs that are likely to be incurred in pursuing your claim. We will provide that information at the outset and, on a 6 monthly basis, we will provide you with updates. If proceedings need to be issued, the Court will take a keen interest in the costs incurred up to that point and the costs it is predicted you will need to incur in order to progress the case to a trial. The Court will actually set a budget based on those projections.
Provided your claim has been presented honestly, you will not be asked to pay your opponent’s costs in the event the claim is unsuccessful. However, you are able to ask your opponent to pay towards your legal costs and disbursements where your claim is successful. The position becomes a little more complicated where the Defendant has made an offer to settle your claim and the award you eventually receive is less than that offer in those circumstances the Defendant may seem to recover costs incurred since recieving the offer from you. That issue will of course be something we will discuss with you if it arises as an issue in your case.
In pursuing your claim we will incur costs for the work that we are doing. Those costs are calculated with reference to an hourly rate and based on the time incurred in pursuing your claim. The barristers will charge on a similar basis but, as we do, barristers also work on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis so that there is no fee to pay in the event the claim is unsuccessful.
The various experts that will need to be involved in your claim will charge fees that need to be paid whether the case is won or lost. To protect against unnecessary exposure to having to pay those fees (i) your claim is unsuccessful, or the Defendant is nto ordered to pay them. you will be advised to ensure a legal expenses insurance policy can be called on to identify you in those circumstances. Insurance policies bought after the event to which the claim relates become payable upon the conclusion of a successful claim. The premium is essentially written off in the event the claim is unsuccessful. If successful, the premium will be payable out of the damages you will have recovered. In clinical negligence claims, part of the premium relating to liability reports is recoverable from the defendant. For taking the risk that cases we take on can be unsuccessful, we charge a success fee in successful cases. This can never be more than 25% of the value of that part of your compensation that is paid for past issues and pain suffering and loss of amenity.
At the conclusion of a successful claim you can look to recover as much of your costs (excluding the legal expenses premium and success fee which are not recoverable of costs) as it is possible to from your opponent. That post settlement process can often take some time and culminates in a “detailed assessment hearing” if settlement cannot be reached. If you were able to recover, say, 75% to 80% of all the costs and disbursements incurred in pursuing your claim, from your opponent, essentially you would be responsible for making up the shortfall.
Our aim is to ensure that whatever the shortfall and these additional liabilities add up to, they will not eat into your compensation to any significant extent. Our aim is that the contribution towards your costs should never exceed 10% of your lump sum compensation award and in most cases our expectation would be that the contribution you would have to make would be significantly less than 10% of what we would expect to be a substantial award. It is important to remember, in spinal injury cases compensation is usually made up of significant future losses and we typically recover awards in high six, seven or even eight figure sums. Further information on this is provided to you in the initial engagement letters and throughout.
If you would like to find out more about budgets and legal costs please do not hesitate to contact us.
For more information you may like to read our Offers and Settlements factsheet.