PERTH LAWYERS - HOFFMANS

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PERTH LAWYERS - HOFFMANS

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PERTH LAWYERS - HOFFMANS - Western Australia

Hoffmans Barristers & Solicitors are a team of Perth lawyers providing legal advice to members of the Western Australian community affected by Personal Injury, including Motor Vehicle Accidents, Public Liability, Workers Compensation, and Medical Negligence; in addition to Criminal Injuries Compensation and Inheritance matters.

Hoffmans was established in 1987 and has been assisting injured people to achieve their rightful compensation since then. We have a combined legal experience of over 70 years.

We understand how daunting the prospect of pursuing a personal injury claim can be, particularly when you are trying to recover from your injuries. We at Hoffmans are committed to providing you with a personalized legal service aimed at relieving you of much of the stress that comes with making a claim.

The company offers the highest quality legal advice and services by employing skilled and committed Personal Injury Lawyers.

We are proud of our reputation and look forward to being of service to you.

Ring us at your convenience at (08) 9221 2211 so we can advise you regarding your legal matter.

Your 1st consultation is free if you decide not to proceed...

Personal Injury Lawyers

People who are injured have their lives greatly affected. The lives of their family and friends are changed. It is a stressful and troubled time.

Lifestyles must be altered. Everyday responsibilities, such as meeting financial needs or caring for dependents, become more difficult. Therefore, it is important to get compensation and have your claim dealt with competently and expediently.

Hoffmans has great experience with personal injury cases and will make sure that your case is handled properly. Personal body injury can occur in circumstances where you can get compensation from another. In those cases, it is important to make sure that you get what you are entitled to.

Hoffmans Personal Injury Lawyers

Hoffmans' main practice areas for Personal Injury are:

The process of obtaining compensation for your injuries is outlined below:

Obtaining Compensation for your Injuries

Dan Connor - Hoffmans Personal Injury LawyersFor us to assess the chances of recovering compensation for you (also known as damages) we must take the following steps:

  1. Establish whether in principle you have a claim at law i.e. have you been injured through someone else's negligence ?
  2. Determine who is the proper Defendant and establish that either there is insurance in place, or that the Defendant has assets.
  3. Assess the value of your claim i.e. gauge the seriousness of your injuries and how they have afected you, affected your earnings, caused you expense, also how they may affect you in the future.

Steps to take

  1. Take a detailed statement from you, which can be used in court if necessary, called a "Proof of Evidence"
  2. Obtain reports from your treating doctors and hospitals
  3. Particularly in cases of medical negligence, seek at least one independent specialist's opinion to support your claim
  4. Obtain details regarding all your losses and expenses such as loss of earnings and treatment expenses;
  5. Ask you to keep a written record of your requirements through your recovery including doctors visits, medications, travelling for treatment, need for care and assistance at home etc.
  6. Ask you to keep all accounts, receipts and vouchers relating to expenses you have incurred because of your injuries and treatment. We can recover these expenses for you, but only if we can produce proof that they have been incurred.

Legal Proceedings

We always attempt to finalise claims without having to commence legal proceedings. However sometimes in order to obtain the maximum compensation for you, or any compensation at all, it is necessary to commence legal proceedings. This may be, for example, because the insurance company feels either that it has a good defence, or that you will not be able to prove your claim.

You should not be concerned if we suggest that legal proceedings be commenced. This does not mean you will automatically have a trial and have to give evidence in court. In our experience probably 90% of personal injuries claims are finalised without a trail.

Commencement of Proceedings

Legal Proceedings are usually commenced in the District Court of Western Australia with a document called a Writ of Summons.

Attached to the Writ of Summons is either a brief summary of your claim against the Defendant (called an Indorsement fo Claim) or a much more detailed summary of your claim (called a Statement of Claim).

Once legal proceedings are commenced Writ of Summons is served on the Defendant or the Defendant's lawyers and a Defence to the Statement of Claim is received.

The Statement of Claim and the Defence are called the pleadings and the purpose of the pleadings it to identify the areas where the Plaintiff and Defendant disagree.

Discovery

After a Defence is received each party must prepare a list of documents relevant to the pleadings. Once the lists are prepared they are exchanged and each party provides copies of requested documents to the other party. The process is called discovery. On some occasions, the Defendant will ask for discovery verified by affidavit. This means the Defendant would like you to sign an affidavit confirming that the list of documents is complete. This is a document you swear to be true and which is witnessed by a Justice of Peace or by one of the Commissioners for Oaths in our office.

Your discovery will often include medical reports, copies of tax returns and relevant correspondence with the Defendant.

We will draft a list of documents on your behalf, but it is very important that if you have other documents relevant to your claim that are not referred to in the list of documents, you provide us with them, so the list is complete.

Be sure to provide us with any documents that are received after the first list is prepared so that the list an be updated as required.

Interrogatories

In some cases we will want more details about the Defendant's case after discovery is complete. We will therefore ask interrogatories of the Defendant. Asking interrogatories involves preparing a document listing questions that we would like the Defendant to answer. The Defendant is required to provide answers to those questions, provided they are relevant, verified by affidavit.

Interrogatories are often a good way to force the Defendant to state precisely his or her version of events.

The answers to interragatories can also be used at any future trial if the Defendant tries to change his or her story.

As interrogatories can be a useful way to obtain further information about the other party's case, the Defendant may often ask you to answer interragatories. If that occurs, we will halp you answer them.

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The Assessment of Damages

Although we will have taken some details from you in realtion to damages when we initially saw you, and included some of those details in teh Statement of Claim, it is usually necessary to carry out a further detailed assessment of the value of your claim as the court proceedings advance.

In personal injuries claims damages fall within various categories including:

In order to make sure that you recover everything to which you are entitled, it is sensible to record details of the sorts of activities you have been unable to do or been restricted in doing since your accident (some people find keepin a diary useful), and to keep receipts for all money spent in realtion to your claim.

Settlement of your claim

Once we have assessed the maximum damages you could expect to recover if you won your case at trial, it is necessary to decide the approach to be adopted in trying to settle your claim.

Often it is possible for us to meet with the solicitors representing the Defendant to discuss settlement of your claim (called an informal conference). Many cases are finalised at an informal conference.

If an informal conference has not occured, or has occured and achieved no result, the action should be entered for trial. Once the case is entered for trial the District Court will arrange a time when the parties and their solicitors must meet to try and finalise the case. This is called a pre-trial conference.

Most cases are finalised at the pre-trial conference stage.

If settlement is not reached at the pre-trial conference the case is adjourned to a listing conference. Prior to the listing conference the case will be further prepared for trial. Dates for the trial willbe given at the listing conference. We will attend this appointment on your behalf, there is no need for you to attend personally.

How much do you settle your claim for ?

The amount you should accept in settlement of your claim is something we will discuss thoroughly with you before any informal or pre-trial conference. It will depend on several factors including the strength of your claim and the anticipated recovery if the case goes to trial.

In many cases there are arguments as to who is responsible for your injuries, what caused your injuries, and how extensive your injuries are.

Due to delays between the pre-trial conference this may mean you will have your money 6-12 months earlier. In addition settlement means certainty. However strong your case is, you cannot be 100% certain of a successful outcome at trial. For these two reasons it is usually sensible to consider allowing some discount from the figure you would likely achieve following a successful trial.

Before we ask you for final instructions regarding a possible settlement we will tell you how much you will receive net after payment of all legal costs and other deductions.

In addition to damages, you can usually expect all of the disbursements (report fees etc) and the bulk of your legal costs, maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of them, to be paid.

We will require you to cover any "gap" from your settlement.

After settlement of your claim

Unless you tell us of medical expenses that you have paid, or remain outstanding you will be unable to recover these from the Defendant. You must also tell us if you have private health insurance because there may be a requirement to reimburse the insurer.

We will try and tidy up any "loose ends" at the time we settle your claim, such as arranging for outstanding medical fees to be paid. However, if an unexpected problem arises after settlement of your claim please telephone us if you need help in trying to sort the matter out.

Trial

If settlement is not achieved at an informal or pre-trial conference the action must go to trial, usually before a single District Court Judge. If a trial becomes necessary we will be responsible for preparation and conduct of the trial and will explain what is involved. We will usually engage a Barrister on your behalf to argue your case at trial.

Centrelink

If you receive an award of damages and you have been in receipt of benefits from Centrelink, whether or not these benefits are connected to the injuries for which you are pursuing a claim, and if you are claiming loss of earnings, you will probably have to reimburse Centrelink.

You may also be precluded from claiming benefits for a period of time.

Income Tax

Damages recovered in personal injuries claim are not assessable for income tax purposes.

HIC (Medicare)

"HIC" stands for "Health Insurance Commission", the official title for Medicare. When your claim concludes, the Defendant's insurer is required by statute to repay to the HIC the cost of medical expenses paid by it because of your claim related injuries.

The way this is calculated is that the HIC sends to you a list of all medical expenses paid by it since the date of the accident or relevant negligent act.

You then have to go through the list and tick all of those items related to the accident or negligent act. Sometimes it is quite difficult to work out which items should be ticked and which should not.

Having ticked the relevant items you then sign a Statutory Declaration stating that the information is true and correct and this Statutory Declaration and list is then sent to the HIC which in turn issues a Notice of Charge specifying the total required to be repaid. This Notice holds good for 6 months.

Threshold on ICWA Claims

If you have been injured by the negligent driver of a WA registered vehicle, your personal injury claim will be paid out by the Insurance Commision of Western Australia (formerly known as the MVIT or SGIC).

Since 1993, as a amajor cost cutting exercise, changes were enacted by statute to deduct a $10,000.00 "threshhold" figure from the value of general damages payments n all general damages awards from $1 to $30,000.00 and on a sliding scale from $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 so that awards greater than $40,000.00 were unaffected. These figures were adjusted upwards by CPI increase on 1 July each year so that the threshold deduction from 1 July 2002 has risen to $12,000.00 and affects all claims to some extent with "before threshold" values of $1 to $48,000.00.

GST

Since 1 July 2000 we have had to charge GST on the legal services we provide at 10%, in common with most other businesses and professions Australia wide. As you will have seen from the Cost Disclosure Statement the scale costs we can now recover (since June 2002) specifically include GST. In the event your claim is successful therefore, you can expect to recover the bulk, say 2/3 to 3/4 of your costs and the same portion of the GST payable on those costs, at least upon work done subsequent to 1 June 2002.

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