How much will it cost to take my injury case?
The cost of taking your claim will depend on a number of factors. Most personal injuries Solicitors operate on a ‘no foal no fee basis’ which means that if your case is not successful, then you will not have to bear the costs of taking a claim. That is why your Solicitor will examine all of the facts with you and discuss with you the possibility of success from the very outset in order to ensure that the case will only be brought if it is an arguable case that one would expect to win against your employer.
Costs of Injuries Board claims
Generally speaking, if you are taking a case against your employer there is no prospect of obtaining your costs from the employers when your case settles at the assessment stage through the Injuries Board.
The Injuries Board can award costs where an applicant is vulnerable. However the Injuries Board have not set out a definition of “vulnerable” so it is therefore not clear as to when that provision becomes operative.
If a personal injuries claim to the Injuries Board settles after the Injuries Board has made an assessment of your claim, the costs associated with that claim will most likely be paid out of any award to you.
However in many cases the Insurers for the Defendant/employers may well look for a settlement meeting after your Solicitor has lodged your claim to the Injuries Board but before the Injuries Board have made a final assessment of your claim.
In those circumstances we generally organise a settlement meeting at the Law Library, the Four Courts, Dublin and if we manage to settle your case at that point, we would insist upon your costs being paid by the Defendants/employers.
If the Defendants refuse to pay your costs at that juncture, we would generally allow the case to sit with the Injuries Board and await their assessment.
It is very normal for a case to settle prior to the Injuries Board assessing your claim in which case it is very normal for your Solicitor to obtain your costs from the other side. It will depend on the circumstances of each case, the stage upon which your case settles and the attitude of the Defendants insurers as to whether your costs will be paid by the other side when your case is before the Injuries Board.
Costs of Personal Injury Court Proceedings
(It is important to note that whether your case settles at the Injuries Board stage or whether your case settles after you have issued Court proceedings, Solicitors’ fees cannot be calculated as a percentage of any award or settlement and the fees calculated must be representative of the work carried out and time spent in relation your file.)
In the event that legal proceedings are necessary before the District Court, Circuit Court or the High Court, generally speaking your costs will be paid by the Defendants in the event that you are successful in your action and in the event that your action reaches a settlement.
There are different types of costs associated in connection with personal injury cases as follows:
Solicitor/client charges are charges to the client where the costs associated with carrying out the work cannot be recovered from the other side when the action settles or when the Court case is won.
An example of such costs would be initial applications to the Injuries Board, consultations and work carried out in connection with your claim to the Injuries Board in circumstances where it became ultimately necessary to issue Court proceedings.
In those circumstances you will generally have an entitlement to recoup all legal costs in connection with the Court proceedings to include the preparation of the Court proceedings, consultations with Counsel and all other associated costs with the proceedings.
However the recovery of such costs does not include the initial preparatory work which would have been carried when your claim was submitted to the Injuries Board and it is unlikely that a Court would ever award the costs of the work involved at the Injuries Board stage. Generally speaking a Solicitor/Client fee would be charged for the work carried out prior to issuing the Court proceedings.
Party/Party costs are the costs associated and incurred by your legal team when dealing with the other side in connection with your Court proceedings.
Such costs would include the preparatory work and all work in connection with the legal proceedings necessary to take your claim, all correspondence and meetings with the other side, all attendances at Court and any motion which needed to be brought during the course of your proceedings.
In the event that you are successful in your case or in the event that your case settles, generally speaking your Solicitor will ensure that the other side would be liable to pay all of the party party costs in connection with your proceedings.
In exceptional cases it is not possible for your Solicitor to recover the full amount of the party party costs in which case there may or may not be a shortfall of the costs recoverable.
However prior to settling any claim, you will be fully advised and informed of the entitlement and offers of costs together with any information you will require in connection with a shortfall or costs not recoverable.
In our experience of dealing with personal injuries claims, party party costs are fully recoverable but there has been a growing trend in Ireland in the past four to five years where costs are not fully recovered.
This appears to be increasingly the case due to the appointment of taxing masters before the High Court who have implemented a very strict regime in respect of the recovery of party party costs. It will remain to be seen how this trend will continue.