Medical negligence compensation

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by MrNala, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. MrNala

    MrNala New Member

    Hi there I had a small medical negligence claim against a dentist and last week the dentist's insurance company offered to settle out of court through my solicitor.They negotiated the sum up to €10000.00 plus legal costs.I was happy to accept this and close the matter.I was then told by my solicitor that I would be expected to make a contribution of €1500.00 from my €10000.00 to my legal costs and he would give me the remaining €8500.00.I didn't expect this and queried it and was givin a load of legal mumbo jumbo that it is the normal procedure these days....Just wondering if anyone has any experience of this and is it right??
  2. Monbretia

    Monbretia Frequent Poster

    Did you ask initially what the solicitor's fees were going to be? They have to be paid so I presume the €1,500 is for whatever work they did correspondence/negotiation/time etc. I would think it is pretty normal that they need to be paid and the insurer is not going to pay as they don't have to, if you went to court there probably would be an order for costs to be paid or if you went through the injuries board yourself you would not have been liable for legal fees unless you involved a solicitor as well.
  3. POC

    POC Frequent Poster

    But if MrNala is offered 10000 PLUS legal costs, surely the solicitors fees are not part of the 10000? They are an extra cost to the insurance company? That is the way most lay people like me would read it.
  4. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

    The offer was €10,000 plus legal costs and your solicitor wants €1,500 from the €10k.

    While this is not uncommon it is just gouging. You should take a very strong line against the solicitor. Certainly suggest that you are thinking of taking a complaint to the Law Society and I would also mention Joe Duffy.
  5. twofor1

    twofor1 Frequent Poster

    Have a look at this leaflet;

    What happens if I reach a settlement and the other side has to pay my costs?

    You are still responsible for paying your bill even if you settle with the other side and they offer or are ordered to pay your costs.

    In court cases and settlements, if your case is successful, your solicitor will try to get as much as possible of your costs from the other side. Sometimes, however, this may not be enough to cover your solicitor’s bill.
  6. Monbretia

    Monbretia Frequent Poster

    Right, I should have read it more carefully, if it was 10k plus costs then I wouldn't be making any 'contribution'.
  7. MrNala

    MrNala New Member

    It's over a year ago since my initial meeting with the solicitor and I've never been involved in anything like this before but from what I remember he said my case was very straight forward and was very confident of it being settled in my favour and said costs would be paid by the other side.
    I also clearly remember at our first meeting I had no interest in pursuing the matter if I would be liable for any expenses as I couldn't afford it.
    Pat Sorrn likes this.
  8. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

    Just a few observations.

    You should have been supplied with a letter from your solicitor at the early stages pointing out relevant issues including costs. If not, you may have a basis for complaint to the Law Society.

    Normal practice is for insurers to offer damages and costs. Costs means your solicitor's costs.

    Sometimes, a settlement can be negotiated on an "inclusive" or "all in" basis whereby a global sum is offered to cover everything and the client sorts it out with the solicitor. That would be expected if a case was being disposed of on a nuisance basis. Also, such an offer and it's basis should have been communicated clearly to a client before they give final instructions to accept

    However, if it is clear that there is an agreement to pay damages and costs separately that is different.

    So, what are costs ? There are two types of costs; 1) party an party costs and 2) solicitor and client costs.

    The party and party costs are those necessarily and directly incurred in presenting the claim. These are the ones usually paid by the defendant to the solicitors for the claimant.

    It can happen that some items on the party and party costs bill are not allowed at all or only in part. Those items would then fall inside the scope of the solicitor and client account which will be produced after the party and party costs have been dealt with. It does not follow automatically that all such items have to be paid by the client at all or in full as claimed.

    My read of what is going on here is gouging as explained by cremeegg. In short, it looks like your solicitor is double billing or getting paid twice and that is disgraceful.

    BTW I am not at all sure that a solicitor has any right to deduct costs from the damages cheque without prior agreement.

    I would ask my solicitor - in writing - for the following ;

    1. A copy of the original letter of advice in relation to costs.
    2. A copy of the party and party costs as presented to the defendants.
    3. A note or explanation of what was finally agreed on a party and party basis.
    4. An break down of how the solicitor and client costs have been calculated and
    5. An explanation of the legal basis on which it is purported to deduct costs from damages.

    I don't really expect an answer to these questions but it might soften up the particular Dick Turpin you are dealing with and get a better outcome.