Our next blog on Christchurch Earthquake issues discusses how to deal with legal fees.
The main point is:
- your legal fees may be covered by insurance. Contact your insurer to find out or we can do so for you
To listen, click here:
A transcript of the discussion follows:
Sybrand: Hi its Sybrand van Schalkwyk speaking from Parry Field Lawyers, glad that you could join us. I have Grant Adams here with me and we are continuing our series of podcasts on issues arising from the Christchurch earthquake. A lot of you will be sitting at home and thinking well what do I do? Your business may have collapsed, your house may have collapsed or your job may have evaporated. And you think that you should talk to someone about this, you want to talk to your lawyer but you think that that will cost you a lot of money. Grant, what would you say to a client in that sort of situation?
Grant: Look Sybrand, it is a very stressful time here in Christchurch particularly following the second earthquake and its important that legal fees or the fear of legal fees, does not stand in the way of finding solutions to these issues. There are plenty of problems out there, and we recognise that, we are not immune to those ourselves. At Parry Field, if any client has any concern about legal fees, we do encourage them to raise that issue right at the beginning. It is important that they do that so that we can get a feel as to where they are at and come to some sort of solution that meets their needs. That may involve just having progress payments over a reasonable or even a longer period of time to help them through. In some cases the insurance cover might provide for payment of legal fees as well. But, I think the main thing Sybrand is that talk to us first because we recognise that our client has needs and we want to make sure that they get solutions first and that will involve each client and each lawyer in our firm coming to a special arrangement that suits the situation.
Sybrand: Ok, in one of our previous podcasts, you mentioned insurers. Some clients may be facing insurers that are being pressured by a lot of claims and they may be playing hardball with the client and not wanting to be forthcoming with the claim. What sort of options does a client like that have?
Grant: This is becoming increasingly the case Sybrand. Firstly it is important to recognise that people that you are dealing with in the insurance companies themselves may be facing difficulties with the volume of work they are facing. We find that by us becoming involved quite often it takes the claim to another level and, provided that it is handled professionally and appropriately, we can make some good headway with the person involved. Failing that, quite often writing to the company on lawyer’s letterhead has quite often a better effect, in this particular circumstance we don’t want to threaten or get down to brinkmanship. I think the important thing is to realise that insurance companies will be assessing their own position and being conscious about responses and we think that it is important to use a professional in contacting them to establish a good platform for resolving issues rather than a series of phone calls involving increasingly emotional responses on either side.
Sybrand: Great, well thanks Grant, that’s all we have time for today, but we will talk to you soon on another topic related to the Christchurch earthquake.