Solicitors fee personal injury

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by Eileenke, 7 Nov 2018.

  1. Eileenke

    Eileenke New Member

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    Hi I was awarded a settlement plus costs in court. My solicitor says he wants me to sign over my cheque and for him to take a fee from it as he says the costs didn't cover PIAB case filing qhich he wants to charge in exces of 2000€ is this right?
     
  2. Ravima

    Ravima Frequent Poster

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    There may be costs due to him from you that were not recovered from the other side. However, you should have been given an estimate of the costs when you first consulted him.
     
  3. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    +1 Ravima's post.

    The solicitor is right about the party and party costs not covering the submission to PIAB.

    He does not have a lien on your damages cheque.

    The solicitor is not entitled to decide what he is taking thus leaving the remainder to you.

    You should get a proper account breaking down the amount he proposes to charge for the pre PIAB work. The account should show his instructions fee, outlays and VAT.

    I would also wish to see the account that he sent the other side by way of party and party costs. Although the other side may have paid that account it is, strictly speaking, your account which they just happen to have paid. What you need to watch here is that there is no double charging or charging of a disproportionate amount for the pre PIAB work.

    Solicitor's fees are negotiable believe it or not.

    A brief expansion on Ravima's point. The solicitor should have given you a S. 68 letter setting out details of the proposed work. From a previous post from T McGibney a S. 68 letter and an estimate may not be the same. Did you ask for an estimate ?

    P.S. The solicitors instructions fee should reflect the complexity of the case and the amount of work that went in to it.
     
  4. elcato

    elcato Moderator

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    I think this is a case of the old 'tradition' that a solicitor charges 10% of the claim on top of charges. Well known in the legal circles up to the naughties.
     
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  5. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

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    Actually, the solicitor almost certainly has a lien of sorts if he\she has issued a proper engagement letter and got the client to sign it. My engagement letter, always signed by the client, authorises me to lodge their settlement cheque, to discharge any outlays and to retain (but not take) the amount of my fee until the final amount is settled. I also include an explanation of the resolution mechanisms available if there is a disagreement on the fee.

    Early in my career - just as an experiment - I handed over compensation cheques without deduction.

    A typical scenario (in a straightforward case settled at PIAB stage) might be that:

    a) I had secured maybe €12k in a settlement cheque;

    b) I had secured maybe €1k+VAT+Outlay from the defence insurer against a bill of maybe €1200+VAT

    c) I would hand over the settlement cheque along with the bill showing the balance due (in this typical scenario, €200+VAT) and tell the client to drop in the money as soon as they had banked their cheque.

    The first three such clients stiffed me. I do very little of this type of work, so this was over a period of maybe a year. Over a drink, I told an older colleague that I was going to run the sequence to 10 clients, just to be sure.

    He told me not to bother - that he would bet his house on all ten stiffing me.

    He also pointed out the rather obvious:- that if you send a client out the door owing you money, you are most unlikely to get repeat business from that client or indeed the client's family.

    He was right on both counts. So I stopped the experiment.
     
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  6. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: 9 Nov 2018 at 12:03 PM
    That would be in perfectly good order as you have acted properly and professionally in making the contractual arrangement up front with the client.

    What concerns me here is that the OP seems not to have entered in to any such agreement with his solicitor and he is now having something imposed upon him that was not agreed previously.
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2018 at 12:03 PM
  7. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    Indeed.

    I remember settling a case with a plaintiff's solicitor for agreed damages and agreed party and party costs.
    Cheques issued.
    A few weeks later the plaintiff rang me directly to ask why we had not paid his solicitor's fees. It seems that a bill identical to what was agreed seems somehow to have made it's way to the client for discharge. I'm sure it was all a terrible misunderstanding or even an administrative error ;)
     
  8. elcato

    elcato Moderator

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    Perhaps he was but the plaintiffs claim included compensation for loss of memory every now and then .....
     
  9. Eileenke

    Eileenke New Member

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    I did sign a contract at the start that said that if an amount was not recoverable from the other side that j would be liable. But the problem is I do not know what was recovered from the other side because they will not show me or tell me. After pressing them a lot about an amount they've now said 2500 fee for PIAB work. But my case could not be settled by PIAB as it was against MIBI and another party also both would mot take responsibility so had to go to court. And costs were awarded against MIBI does that not mean I can recover some of the fee prior to proceedings as PIAB do not complete these cases and direct for court and would the MIBI not have been issued an o'Rourke letter beforehand for not taking on responsibility?
     
  10. Eileenke

    Eileenke New Member

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    And I want to add that I asked along about fees and was always told to not worry as would be recovered. And they could have told me at any time as now they are saying they were accrued 4 years ago so at start of case PIAB
     
  11. HarryPD

    HarryPD Registered User

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    An application to PIAB costs €45. Medical report is required upon submission of PIAB application, which probably cost @€250 if completed by your GP and was very probably included in your damages as agreed in the final settlement. Solicitor probably spent @30 minutes determining who should be named as respondent (responsible party) and sent to them/their insurer a pre-PIAB application letter regarding liability (standard template "letter of claim") . Bit more involved regarding respondent identification for a public liability claim (eg trip&fall > engineer's report) than a motor claim, but clearly this is not the case here. Ask your solicitor for an itemised breakdown of the costs he now says are due and owing as he seems to have picked this figure out of thin air (i.e. the old school practice of "awarding" himself a % of your award).
     
  12. Ravima

    Ravima Frequent Poster

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    many solicitors will charge fees for the PIAB application and dealing with the file whilst in PIAB. PIAB pay no costs. It was set up to cut legal costs. €1/2000 plus VAT would seem to be the range charged for the simple lower value PIAB cases.
     
  13. Eileenke

    Eileenke New Member

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    I know PIAB pay no costs but I'm not completely sure my solicitor did not get any of these costs back from the other side as he said it would be recoverable when I asked about fees during and now he's just telling me that these costs accrued back 3 years ago! Surely he could have told me about it all along them when I asked? And why can't he give me a breakdown of costs or any amount of costs for that matter that he recovered from the other side when the judge awarded me costs? Seeing that the case was over at the end of September
     
  14. puckane82

    puckane82 Registered User

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    Tell him you will contact the Law Society.Plenty of reports in the papers lately about solicitors messing about with peoples compensation money!!!!
     
  15. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

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    Your solicitor did not get back any of the PIAB costs back from the other side; You can be completely sure of that; No insurer will agree to pay these costs in a case that has gone to court.

    It is possible that the costs which he is going to recover from the other side have not yet been finalised.

    But when they are finalised (or if they have already been finalised) then yes, as a regulatory matter you are absolutely entitled to be told and to be furnished with a full bill of costs and outlays. And in the interim, you are entitled to see the bill of costs and outlays that he has sent to the defence - because he has done this on your behalf.

    Remember, the costs money which the solicitor has recovered (or will recover) from the other side is your money, which is in turn used to (fully or partly, depending on what you have agreed) discharge your legal bill with your solicitor.

    But as Ravima correctly states most ( in my experience, virtually all) solicitors expect to be paid for PIAB work.
     
  16. Eileenke

    Eileenke New Member

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    But can they gives any fee they want for this work or does it need to be for work done broke down and costed?