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Legal Costs and Mesothelioma Claims

After taking instructions, lawyers must provide clients with a costs disclosure as soon as practical. The costs disclosures are required by regulation. They are lengthy and complicated.

While it is critical to read and understand the costs disclosure, it is also important to speak to a lawyer and discuss any parts that are not clear or are of concern. Your lawyer should be able to explain how the costs will operate clearly.

A claimant’s legal costs include their lawyers’ professional costs and disbursements, such as amounts paid out for expert reports, clinical notes, and court filing fees. Segelov Taylor Lawyers acts on a fully funded ‘no win-no fee’ basis in all mesothelioma claims. No win- no fee means that you will not pay, or contribute to, any of your legal costs unless and until you obtain compensation. When a person obtains compensation, most of their costs are normally paid by the defendant as part of the compensation amount.

Many other firms operate a partial ‘no win, no fee’ basis, which only covers professional costs, but clients still need to pay disbursements and investigation costs prior to obtaining compensation.

In mesothelioma claims, our work is generally divided into three stages:

  1. An initial investigation to determine if a claim should be commenced. Nothing is payable to us if we do not recommend a claim (or the person with mesothelioma decides not to pursue a claim).
  2. Commencing proceedings and progressing to mediation. Compulsory mediation is required in almost all cases. Most matters settle at or around mediation. The legal costs up until mediation are normally an accurate estimate of the costs when the claim has commenced. As a result, Segelov Taylor generally operates on a fixed fee basis for costs to this stage. When matters settle at or around mediation, they usually settle on an “inclusive of costs” basis. This means that the defendant has agreed to pay a single lump sum that includes an amount for legal costs. The alternate arrangement is that the defendant agrees to pay an amount “plus costs”. When this occurs, the amount the defendant will contribute to costs is generally determined later.
  3. When matters don’t settle at mediation, the third stage for legal costs is from mediation until any later settlement or until the Court determines the matter at a final hearing. It is very difficult to estimate the amount of legal costs for this stage as it may only involve a small amount of work (such as where a settlement can be negotiated soon after mediation) or a great deal when the matter runs to the final hearing. Legal costs in this stage are calculated by reference to the work done. When a matter settles at this stage, it can occur on an inclusive of costs basis or plus costs basis. When the Court determines a matter, the Court will generally make an order that the defendant pay costs in addition to the compensation. The amount for costs is determined later by agreement or assessment.

Common questions about costs in mesothelioma claims

Are costs calculated as a percentage of the amount of the compensation?

No. Arrangements of this kind are not lawful in Australia.

If I decide I do not want to proceed with a case, will I be liable for costs?

If we conduct an investigation and you decide not to make a claim, you will not be liable for any costs.

What about the other side’s costs?

No win, no fee arrangements do not affect liability for an adverse costs order.

How much are legal costs in mesothelioma cases?

Legal costs will depend on various circumstances, including the nature of your case, if and when it settles, whether there is a claim for economic loss, etc. On average, when mesothelioma claims settle at mediation, Segelov Taylor’s costs are less than 10% of the amount recovered.

 

About Segelov Taylor

Segelov Taylor has expertise in bringing claims on behalf of persons suffering from mesothelioma. Both Tanya Segelov and David Taylor have acted for hundreds of mesothelioma sufferers, including the late asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton. If you have any questions concerning compensation for mesothelioma, don’t hesitate to contact our office on 02 8880 0500, email tanya@segelovtaylor.com.au. We will come and see you at your home or in hospital and provide advice to you.

 

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