How to keep your Costs down in a Compensation Law case

Everybody assumes that personal injury lawyers are expensive.  This is true to a certain extent.  Often we have a file for 2 years or more.  When a compensation lawyer tells you that their bill could be as much as $20,000 or $30,000 it gives us a momentary cardiac arrest.

The thing to remember is these estimates are given knowing that a compensation claim will on average be managed by that compensation lawyer for no less than 12 months, and sometimes up to 2 years.  And that is only to a Compulsory Conference.

There are many variables which impact how much a compensation claim costs to run for a compensation lawyer.  These are: –

  • How bad is the injury?

The more serious the injury, the bigger the medical history is that we need to obtain and review, the more medical investigations we need to undertake, the more likely the insurer on the other side is to be difficult and usually (which is very unfortunate), the less likely to settle in the short term.

  • Are there any issues on liability? What this means is – is there an argument about whether or not the other person (insurer) is at fault?

If there is, there could be additional costs in investigating these issues.  These could be: –

  • Making a request for information or documents from the insurer;
  • Maybe there is expert evidence to be obtained from an engineer about the incident or the cause of the incident (particularly in a work injury type claim);
  • How many witnesses are there? Do we need to use a private investigator to track down any of these witnesses?

These types of issues also mean that there is resistance from the insurer about resolving the matter early in the piece.

Unfortunately there is no shortcuts in a compensation claim.  However, how do you attempt to keep costs down.

Things are undoubtedly stressful when you are going through this process.  You may feel the need to ‘vent’ to your compensation lawyer.  I’m sure they’re happy to listen, but remember the clock starts ticking the minute they pick up the phone.

The more you talk to them, the more you email them or send them documents – the bigger their bill is likely to be.

However, a compensation lawyer really needs to have all the information.  It is VITAL that you give them everything relevant to the claim.  If you’re not sure, you should give it to them and let them decide if it’s relevant or not.

So how do you keep costs down?  What are the DO’s and DON’Ts for communicating with a compensation lawyer.

  • If you talk to your compensation lawyer on the phone – be prepared and have your questions ready.
  • If you communicate with your compensation lawyer by email – this is a good way of keeping your costs down.

However be mindful – the more emails the higher your bill.

We would suggest keeping a personal note of what information or documents you want to send to the compensation lawyer and send the compensation lawyer ONE email only with all the issues.  Perhaps save them up and send one email every fortnight or so.  If you send your compensation lawyer an email every day you are going to get charged for each email.  If you send them one email with all of those matters addressed, you will get charged for the time it takes for the compensation lawyer to read that one email.  There is no question, it will be cheaper to read just the one email.

  • If you have bundles of documents – send them in one email not in multiple emails.

If you need advice on a compensation claim, contact our experienced compensation lawyers to discuss your enquiry on a no obligation basis.

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