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QLD Car Accident and No Win No Fee Legal Fees

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by Angela, 11 August 2014.

  1. Angela

    Angela Member

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    I was injured in a MVA and am now at the settlement stage with my ' no win no fee' law firm and the car insurance company, who has accepted full liability for the car accident. My question/concern is with my solicitor.
    Is it the insurers responsibility to pay all my legal fees? Also, I requested an itemised copy of what they (the law firm) are asking me to pay, as it's in the 'many tens of thousands' even with the insurer part paying. On the itemised, there are 'so many' things that simply did not happen! When I raised these with my solicitor, he just dismisses me. I am worried, as it feels as though the law firm are taking my compensation and are the deciders as to what 'they choose' they will give me.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Document each of the items that didn't happen and tell the solicitor in writing to adjust his invoice/s. Also query everything you are uncertain about.
     
  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Angela,

    I agree with what Rod advised. Note any charges that you are unclear about and ask the solicitor for a full explanation. The solicitor is required to explain all the charges to you in plain English and make sure that you understand what each charge is for.

    If you still contest the charges, I refer you to this thread on lawanswers: Personal Injury Settlement - Old Solicitor Chasing Fees, which also concerned "no win no fee" costs agreements in Queensland:

    "
    In relation to what solicitor X is allowed to charge you under a "no win no fee" (conditional costs) agreement:

    - This is governed by the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) under Division 5 (costs agreements) and Division 6 (billing);
    - This fact sheet explains what a solicitor is able to charge under a conditional costs agreement (the 50/50 cap rule) and what happens when lawyers are changed halfway through the case: Legal Services Commission Information Sheet. I would suggest giving the Legal Services Commission a call and enquiring about this further if you are still unsure: contact;
    - Further, you may enquire into possibly lodging a complaint against solicitor X with the Legal Services Commission if you believe solicitor X's conduct or calculations are illegal: complaints.
    "​
     
  4. Jayne B

    Jayne B Member

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    My son just went through the same thing. He's just got a payout. The sollicitors fees went from $20k to $36k went the payout went up. Hmmmm interesting. Check if the have a "uplift fee" in the agreement. If they do it will ad thousands to their final cost. If you are concerned you can check with the legal services commission. We got a letter one week before settlement saying the fees would be in the vicinity of $20k but at settlement (when the payout was slightly higher) it went up to a whopping $36k - almost doubled. Doesn't seem right to me. My gut feeling tells me there is something amiss particularly when I say the lawyers red face embarrassment when I asked the question. "why have the cost gone up so much" He didn't have a credible answer for me.
     
  5. winston wolf

    winston wolf Well-Known Member

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    We had costs assess and no only did it cost $5000 for the privilege but the lawyers charged us $900 to argue the $1500 disallowed buy the assessor.

    Just sayin:confused:
     
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  6. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    @Jayne B: this is very unfortunate. Did the extra charges relate to conducting the settlement, drafting up the final agreement and extra work for closing? In any case, the solicitor needs to be able to justify the increase in costs. This is particularly so if the solicitor provided an estimate of the final costs (i.e. after closing settlement work) and if the sum substantially differs, which appears to be in your case, they need to justify the increase. However, bear in mind that solicitor costs go up quite fast as the hourly rate is usually quite high.

    @Angela: how did it go in the end? Was the solicitor able to justify and explain the fees to you? As Rod said, whilst it is possible to have the fees taxed, unfortunately, the taxation process itself (the preparation by the solicitor, the involvement of a professional taxer ("law cost draftsman") and the court's time if it goes that far) adds a lot of extra costs on top of the fee.
     
  7. Angela

    Angela Member

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    Hi all! Sorry I've had probs logging in.
    Jayne: Ask for an itemised before signing off on anything!
    Rod and Sarah were right. I demanded an itemised for work done post agreed settlement, they couldn't make it up. So they mysteriously found several 'thousand' dollars and promptly handed it back!
    This would never have happened had I not done so, and the law firm would have just kept it.
    Many thanks to you all.
     
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  8. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Angela,

    Glad it's sorted out! Your advice is absolutely correct, always ask for an itemised bill. The lawyer should inform you of your rights to request an itemised bill in the first place. If not, there could be grounds for a complaint made should you later overpay.
     

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