Who Sets the Fees We Charge?
We charge according to a scale, or list, set out by the Supreme Court.
When you first come to see us, Kakulas Legal will provide costs disclosure to you under the Legal Profession Act (2008). This document provides details of the relevant cost scales and estimates so you are fully informed about your rights.
When Do I Pay?
No legal costs are payable until the conclusion of your case and your contribution towards legal fees will be deducted from the settlement money.
Unlike many other compensation firms, in most cases Kakulas Legal will also cover any running costs such as medical report fees and court filing fees on your behalf so you do not need to be out of pocket.
What Are Your Fees?
When you successfully make a claim against the Insurance Commission they will pay for most of your legal costs.
The costs paid by the Insurance Commission are called ‘party and party’ costs.
There are some additional costs, called ‘solicitor and client’ costs which will not be paid by the Insurance Commission, but are paid by the client.
The amount of these costs will depend on the amount of work that we perform on the file, but we work hard to ensure the lowest possible fees. Usually the amount you pay will not exceed about 10% of the final settlement money.
Because we rely heavily on word of mouth recommendations we make sure that our clients are happy when it comes to costs.
Because Kakulas Legal specialise in only one type of law we have the skills to provide you with excellent value for money. In fact our clients are often surprised at how low our fees are.
How Long Do I Have?
There are time limits on the amount of time that you can wait before either settling your claim or starting legal proceedings. These are set out in the following table:
- * You can make an application for an extension of time for these claims for up to 6 years.
- ** You can make an application for an extension of time for these claims for up to 3 years.
- *** exceptions apply to this time period in some cases and so you ought to consult us immediately for advice
It is important that you obtain legal advice from a motor vehicle accident lawyer to safeguard your interests in relation to common law damages time limits.
Injures resulting from traffic accident Accident before 15 November 2005 Accidents after 15 November 2005 Adults Within 6 years of accident Within 3 years of accident*** Children 0 to 15 years at time of accident Within 6 years of their 18th birthday Within 6 years of accident*** Children 15 to 18 years at time of accident Within 6 years of their 18th birthday Before their 21st birthday*** Loss of Dependency Claim Within 1 year of the death of your loved one* Within 1 year of the death of your loved one**
What Kind of Injuries Do You Have Experience With?
We have represented people with a wide variety of injuries. These include but are not limited to:
- whiplash injuries;
- soft tissue injuries;
- broken/fractured arms and legs;
- shoulder injuries;
- neck/spinal/back injuries;
- head injuries (including acquired brain injuries);
- paraplegia and quadriplegia;
- amputations; and
We advise on all injuries, including ones that you might assume are not important to your claim. Sometimes injuries can cause problems in the future but the lawyers at Kakulas Legal have the experience to ensure your claim includes everything it can.
We have extensive experience with severe injuries such as acquired brain injury, quadriplegia / paraplegia and amputations and can assist you not just with monetary compensation but also the practicalities or day to day living following these injuries.
What Is The Process For Fatal Accident Claims?
The law is different for fatal accident claims and Kakulas Legal has particular expertise in these claims.
These claims, where your loved one is killed in a car accident caused (partly or fully) by someone else, are claims for ‘loss of dependency’. That means that you may be able to claim for the support that your loved one would have provided had it not been for the accident. Claims can be made for:
- lost wages;
- parental services;
- domestic services;
- funeral expenses.
The most common claims are made by husbands, wives or children.
An example of a fatal accident claim
John, a teacher, is killed in a motorcycle accident when a driver didn’t stop at a red traffic light. His wife Mary and two young children Alex and Andrew make a claim for loss of dependency. Things that they claim for include:
Loss of John’s income as a teacher and the money that he would have spent on Mary, Alex and Andrew, such as:
- school fees, gifts, outings etc.
- Loss of John’s help around the house and garden
- Loss of John’s time in caring for the children
Mary, Alex and Andrew can each make a claim. Any money received by the young children is kept in trust for them by a court appointed Trustee and Mary can access the money to pay for things like clothing and school costs.
What If I Have Already Received An Offer From The Insurance Commission?
This is a great time to come and see us for some advice.
If you contact Kakulas Legal we will assess the offer and the details of the case and we can let you know if the offer is reasonable or not.
If we think we can help you to do better for you, then we can prepare the claim and negotiate an appropriate offer or represent you in court proceedings.
We guarantee not to charge solicitor client fees if the offer/payout is not increased as a result of having Kakulas Legal act for you.
Remember that if you accept an offer of settlement then your claim is finalised and is not able to be re-opened – even if you accepted far less than the claim was worth.
It is our experience that settlement offers by the insurance companies made to insured parties acting without legal representation are very rarely reasonable and that the insurance company’s offers will increase after Kakulas Legal are engaged to act for an injured claimant.
Will I Have To Go To Court?
Many people are afraid of aggressively pursuing their claim because they are scared of going to court. Don’t let your fear stop you. Approximately 95% of our cases settle without a court case, through negotiations with the Insurance Commission and its solicitors. This is done through offers, informal conferences and pre-trial conferences. If we are not satisfied with the final offer made by the Insurance Commission and are confident of a higher award we will recommend and advise you about going to trial. Ultimately it is your decision.
Who Pays For Medical Treatment?
Once the Insurance Commission has made an admission of full or partial responsibility then the Insurance Commission has an obligation to pay all reasonable medical expenses and rehabilitation costs (such as physiotherapy or counselling) whilst your claim is being processed.
You should provide your claim number to your treating practitioners.
Who Pays The Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation?
Many people worry about suing the driver responsible for an accident, particularly if the person at fault is a friend or family member.
In the vast majority of cases the insurance company of the person at fault will be paying for any compensation. This is because the compensation is paid by the compulsory third party insurer of the vehicle at fault. The claim is not made directly against the driver at fault, meaning the driver will not be out of pocket or need a lawyer to represent them.