Who Pays Costs in Personal Injury Claims?

Who Pays Costs in Personal Injury Claims?

Personal injury claims can be complex. They often involve solicitors, barristers and experts from the medical, engineering and automotive fields. This all comes with fees, of course, which are all part and parcel of the process. But if you’re wondering who actually pays the costs in personal injury claims, we’re here to help break it down for you.

Usually, the costs involved in a personal injury claim are awarded to the person who wins the case. This means that if your case is successful, the court will order the respondent (often referred to as “the other side”) to pay your solicitor’s costs in personal injury claims. Of course, there are exceptions to this practice.

One such example is if you took the case to court because you didn’t agree with a Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) compensation award but the respondent did, and the court went on to award less than the original amount.

Similarly, you could also be ordered to pay costs if you didn’t comply with PIAB requests, such as attending a planned examination for a medical report. Delays can also affect how much you will have to pay, such as failing to inform the respondent of your plan to take a personal injury case within a month of the accident or incident. 

In this blog post we’ll look at who pays costs in personal injury claims as well as some standard solicitor fees, costs and outlays to help you understand how it all works.

 

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

Like everything in life, costs vary significantly depending on the location, experience and resources of the personal injury lawyers you choose. Costs are also heavily influenced by the complexity and duration of your case — which could involve years of preparation and dozens of court appearances — so it really does very much depend on your individual circumstances. 

The good news is that by law, solicitors must advise you in writing of the fees or other charges you should expect, as soon as possible after receiving instructions. 

This information should outline:

  • Exactly how much your solicitor is charging you for their legal services, or, if they cannot do this; 
  • An estimate of how much your solicitor will charge you, or, if they cannot do this; 
  • How your charges will be worked out

The overall figure will include:

  • A professional fee for your personal injury solicitor’s work
  • General expenses, such as stationary or postages
  • Other related charges, such as court fees or PIAB costs
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT) 

Central Bank research this year revealed that 71% of injury claims were settled by litigation during the first half of 2022, with average legal costs of €31,735. Of course, this is very much an average — some of those personal injury claims may have been related to minor events while others could have involved life-changing injuries.

It should also be borne in mind that the remaining 29% that were settled outside of litigation most likely involved lower costs.

Is There Such a Thing as No Win No Fee Solicitors?

 

Sometimes referred to as “no foal, no fee” in Ireland, the practice of “no win, no fee” means that if you are unsuccessful in your claim, you will not have to pay your solicitor for their work.

While many personal injury solicitors in Ireland do offer these types of fee agreements, they are forbidden from advertising the fact by the Law Society of Ireland, who have banned the use of phrases like “no win, no fee”, “no foal, no fee” and “free first consultation”. This, along with other rules about the location of firms near hospitals, etc., is designed to stop a culture of “ambulance-chasing” forming in Ireland. So if you see a firm’s website includes these phrases in its advertising about personal injury lawyer costs, you should think twice about getting in contact.

However, you can certainly ask any solicitor if they would be willing to take on your personal injury case on a “no win, no fee” basis. You can do this in any one-to-one contact such as a phone call or email. An experienced personal injury solicitor will be happy to talk through the merits of your case, the chances of its success and how fees may or may not be applied.

Personal Injury Claim Costs and Outlays

As mentioned, cases such as personal injury claims can be complex, involving multiple professionals and professional bodies. To give you an idea of how a typical bill for personal injury costs might be broken down, we’ve outlined the most common charges involved:

 

Solicitor’s Fees

The professional fees that a solicitor might charge in a personal injury claim will depend on the amount of work involved in concluding the case. As mentioned, you will get an outline of their fees at the outset which should help to give you an approximate estimate of the costs involved.

Under Section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1994, in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate their fees or charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This includes personal injury claims.

 

Personal Injuries Assessment Board Fees

PIAB outlines their fees clearly on their website. They usually involve the following basics:

  • €45 for a PIAB application submitted online
  • €90 for a PIAB application submitted by post or email

Court Proceedings Costs

While PIAB costs are clear and easy to anticipate, the opposite is often true for court proceedings. Court costs can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case as well as the time required of solicitors and barristers and any experts who may be called.

However, an experienced solicitor will usually have a good idea of how this all adds up and will be able to advise, even generally, on the estimated costs of these elements.

Party Costs

As you can imagine, a personal injury case involves a lot of correspondence and meetings with the defendant’s solicitor. 

There will also usually be a great deal of paperwork, motions and attendances involved in taking your case to court. The charges involved in all of this are often covered under the umbrella term of “party costs”. 

Making Personal Injury Claims with HOMS Assist

If you or your loved one has suffered an illness or injury that could give rise to a personal injury case, we may be able to help. Our experienced team is available throughout the country to listen to you and advise you on the next steps. Over the last 50 years, we’ve helped people from every walk of life to receive the care and compensation they deserve.

And if you’re still unclear on who pays costs in personal injury claims, don’t worry — the team will be able to talk you through the whole process. Call us today on 1800 207 207 or contact us online to have a confidential conversation about your situation.

 

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