We all look for value in life. There is nothing new about this statement and whilst it seems self explanatory and obvious, thanks to sophisticated corporations and marketing agencies over the world quite often we are lead to believe that in order to get the best you have to pay more.
In many cases this just simply isn’t the case. When it comes to legal costs for injury compensation, controlling the legal expense is critical for many clients. In the case of a workcover claim an injured person has no entitlement whatsoever to legal costs up to and including the date of the compulsory conference.
In this instance the legal expense that an injured person incurs in respect of bringing their claim and even settling at conference comes directly out of their settlement. Putting it another way, the more an injured person pays their lawyer, the less they put in their “back pocket”. Whilst many firms will make immeasurable generic promises such as “we will get you more” the reality of the matter is quite simple.
Provided you are competently represented and have your case presented appropriately, the prospects are the settlement that an insurer will offer you at the conclusion of a compulsory conference will not be influenced in any way by the identify of your lawyers. In this regard it is critical that a client understands that once they have identified a selection of competent lawyers who are capable of presenting their case properly, the next most critical question for them is to get an understanding of how much those lawyers will cost given that ultimately those lawyers costs will be coming out of their settlement. To properly understand this clients should get a good understanding from their lawyers as to:
- How their lawyers charge (ie. what is their hourly rates)
- How many people within the firm will need to work on the file (will one lawyer handle the case start to finish or will there be handing over internally from one lawyer to another and if so will the client be charged)
- Will the client be charged for non lawyers working on their files such as paralegals or secretaries, and if so how much
- Will a client be charged for costs such as photocopying, telephone calls and the like, and if so how much
- Will the law firm be paying for bills incurred in respect of the claim such as medical reports and the like, and if so will there be any costs in addition to these invoices being charge
All of these questions are fairly simple questions to ask and should be capable of being the subject of straight answers from your lawyers.