Christopher Ballandis was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He brought a claim for compensation and the matter proceeded to a settlement (“compulsory”) conference with the insurer of the vehicle. Christopher offered to settle his claim in the amount of $200,000 plus costs. The insurer made a counter offer of $55,000 plus costs. Neither offer was accepted.
The matter went to trial and the Judge awarded Christopher approximately $33,000 in compensation. The issue was then debated as to what would be the appropriate order as to costs.
The relevant Act specifically details the principles to be applied in determining the issue as to who pays whose costs. In this case, the Court awarded a sum less than $50,000 (known as the upper offer limit) but more than $30,000 (known as the lower offer limit). The amount awarded was also less than the insurer’s mandatory final offer. Accordingly, the insurer was ordered to pay Christopher’s costs up to the start of Court proceedings to a maximum amount of only $2,500. After that date, Christopher was ordered to pay the insurer’s costs on a standard basis. The costs associated with some of the insurer’s investigations after the compulsory conference were excluded. In respect of those late investigations, the insurer was required to pay Christopher’s costs.
As to whether Christopher walked away with any compensation is unknown in the public domain. It serves as an important reminder to continually appraise the strengths, weaknesses and risks associated with a claim for compensation during the course of its life. At MMLaw, we value the open and regular dialogue that we have with our clients in that regard. For more information please contact us.