Making a compensation claim can often be a daunting experience. Injured people would often, understandably, have little or no idea as to what is involved. Questions regarding the process are expected, and indeed encouraged, in order to make the experience as easy and well-informed as possible.
To give a preliminary insight into making a compensation claim, here are a few of the most common and frequently asked questions (and the answers we give) during the initial appointment with a prospective client.
How much compensation will I receive?
Each case is different so we cannot tell you how much you will potentially receive until the later stages of your claim. This will usually depend on when your injuries stabilise and how well you recover from your injuries after all the treatment. When we consider it appropriate to do so, we will give you a range of the amounts which we think your case could potentially be worth.
The likely compensation you may receive will also depend on a number of factors which include:
- The seriousness of your injuries and ongoing disabilities.
- How much you have spent on treatment expenses and whether you will need ongoing future treatment.
- Whether you have taken and/or you will need to take time off work to recover.
- Whether you received significant care and assistance while recuperating.
How long will my case take?
The duration of the case will largely depend on when your injuries are considered to have stabilised. This means that after going through all possible treatment options, your injuries will likely not get any better or any worse to a significant degree.
A medico-legal doctor (whom we arrange at the appropriate time) determines when your injuries have stabilised which can usually take between 12 to 18 months after the accident.
Taking into account other factors which can affect your claim, it may take between 2 to 4 years until the case is finished.
How much do you charge for your legal fees? Is it a percentage?
We will not know what our legal fees are going to be until the end of the case. This is because we charge according to the amount of time and work we do. Generally speaking, the harder the case is the more time we spend on preparing it to ensure the best possible outcome.
We do not charge a percentage – this is illegal. Under NSW law, legal fees are strictly regulated especially those involving motor vehicle accident claims.
When it comes to workers compensation claims, you do not have to pay us a legal fee because we would first need to apply for funding from the government body Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO). If WIRO determines that there is merit in pursing a workers compensation claim, then we may get paid (also called a grant of funding) by WIRO to work on it.
We also act on a ‘No Win, No Fee*’ basis.
What does ‘No Win, No Fee’ mean?
‘No Win, No Fee*’ means that we will only charge a legal fee if your claim is successful. Your claim is successful if you obtain compensation after a court hearing or through an out-of-court settlement.
Under NSW law, we are also obligated to enter into a costs agreement which is the contract between you and our firm setting out the basis on which we charge.
At Stacks Goudkamp, we pride ourselves on never leaving a client in a position where the legal fees outweigh the potential compensation received. We are always upfront as to how we charge and depending on the circumstances of the case, our fees are also negotiable.
If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident, they may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to speak to one of our experienced compensation lawyers, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Erick Culala.
Erick Culala is a solicitor in Emily Harris’ Practice Group. Erick has worked on a variety of compensation matters involving product liability claims, public liability claims, motor vehicle accident claims, and workers compensation.