Understandably, one of the most common questions that people ask when considering whether to pursue a medical negligence claim is “how much is this going to cost.” It can be difficult at the beginning of a matter to provide an exact estimate of costs because at that time it can be difficult to know exactly what the work will involve.
Legal costs are usually made up of professional costs and disbursements.
- Professional costs represent the fee charged for the work performed.
- Disbursements are those fees which are incurred in the investigation and running of your claim. For example, doctors and hospitals usually charge a fee for providing copies of your medical records and experts will charge a fee for providing an opinion with respect to whether a doctor breached their duty of care, or the extent of harm that you suffered.
If a firm has offered to act for you on a “no win, no fee” basis in medical negligence claim, this generally means that you will not have to pay any upfront professional costs. You may still be required to contribute to disbursements, such as funding an initial expert opinion, depending on your situation. The remainder of the costs will usually be deferred until the successful completion of your matter.
Solicitor/client costs are the costs that are charged by the lawyer to you (the client) and includes both professional costs and disbursements.
The Court can order one party to pay another parties costs in a medical negligence matter and this usually follows the success of a matter. This is known as “ordered costs” or “party/party costs.” Generally, the solicitor/client costs will be more than the party/party costs, as these costs are only what the Court considers to be appropriate and reasonable for the successful party to be awarded. For example, in a medical negligence case, a plaintiff may be awarded $150,000 for their injuries and solicitor/client costs may be $50,000. The defendant may have to pay $30,000 towards the plaintiff’s costs and this means that the plaintiff only has to pay the gap of $20,000.
Get in touch with us
At Turner Freeman we have lawyers who specialise in medical negligence claims. Our Sydney Partner, Sally Gleeson, along with her team of lawyers, have a dedicated practice in medical law.
If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence, including a situation in which you have suffered injury as a result of inadequate treatment, or a lack of treatment at a public hospital, we encourage you to call us on 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts.