As of January 1, 2020, the following fees will apply to medico-legal work: Except in legal aid cases, lawyers are generally personally liable for the payment of the fees they charge: whether or not they receive remuneration from the client; whether the client wins the case or not; and whether or not the costs recovered by the opposing party cover the full costs of the proceedings. Most general practitioners will have to appear in court at some point in their careers to testify. This chapter provides guidance for general practitioners involved in forensic activities. A law firm contacted a patient`s primary care physician for a detailed medical report. Since lawyers, accountants, and other professionals tend to bill based on real-time, primary care physicians should consider tailoring this practice to their own circumstances. The fees that general practitioners may charge for performing medico-legal work vary and generally depend on whether or not the lawyer`s client receives legal aid. In civil cases that do not involve legal aid, general practitioners may generally set their own fees for performing forensic work. The British Medical Association recognises that at a time when GPs are faced with unprecedented demands for time from non-NHS sources and obligations, individual doctors must retain ultimate discretion as to what they charge for calls to their clinical expertise. My fees for the forensic report are not based on a tariff, as this is considered uncompetitive in South Africa and therefore illegal.
For 2016, my fees depend, among other things, on the complexity of the report prepared, the time spent, my expenses incurred as well as the perceived risk of late payment and/or non-payment. My fees range from R2.500,00 VAT incl. for forensic advice to R16,000.00 for full reports. It is CPC`s policy to contact an expert prior to the hearing to set fees. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially when hearings are scheduled on short notice. It is therefore advisable that doctors contact the relevant CPS office to reach an agreement on fees both for the appearance in court and for the necessary preparation. Nevertheless, physicians may wish to consider their own private rates when suggesting fees to lawyers. However, the possibilities for using these costs in criminal matters are limited; Almost all cases are legally substantiated and very few are brought on the basis of a private trial. DOI link for medical legal fees: dealing with lawyers and courts The so-called NARRATIVE TEST is carried out separately if necessary and included in a standard forensic report, which is calculated separately at R13,000.00, but may vary depending on the complexity of the report.
The fees paid by the CPS to ordinary experts and witnesses are fixed. As an expert, you can choose if you want to accept the job. CPC has published guidelines regarding the rates it will pay in most cases, but you may be able to negotiate higher fees if there is a relevant rationale related to the expertise needed rather than the individual`s personal qualifications. If the legal conference is cancelled with 14 days` notice or less, the full fee for notified appointments must be paid. In the current economic climate, many consultants are looking for other ways to expand their private practice. As the private health insurance sector has shrunk in recent years, it is difficult for many to increase their market share, so consultants have looked outside this sector. Because of this abundance of potential clients, it is absolutely essential that you properly prepare your practice from the first contact with these sales organizations. In our experience, many consultants start forensic work without due regard to the fees they should charge or, in particular, their terms and conditions. What usually happens is that they then discover some time after work that the case they worked on is on a « no profit, no cost » basis. And that means they often wait years for their money. The obvious problem is the impact it can have on the firm`s cash flow.
The biggest problem that is often overlooked is that once the bill is charged, it means you end up paying taxes on it. This means that until you collect the money, you are actually paying for the forensic work. If you have a large forensic practice and you charge VAT, the situation is much worse because you would have had to pay VAT, currently 20%, to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) every quarter – which increases your overall debt and exacerbates your cash flow situation. The worst case we`ve seen over the years is a practice that began forensic work many years ago and charged more each month than it earned. This had gone on for so long that it resulted in a debt stock that had reached more than £400,000 almost a decade before work began. There are many factors to consider before starting work on medico-legal cases, and I`ve focused on the billing and collection aspects, highlighting the key issues in the box below. It is rare to find a firm that has the time to track these invoices continuously; Even rarer that they have the skills in-house. Another optionThe alternative is to use a professional billing agency. Hire them before you start the forensic work or, if you`ve been doing it for a while, you need to take control of this crucial aspect or take the risk of paying HMRC for the privilege of doing the job.
Please note that my « eligible » fees for an arbitration hearing or tribunal are payable within 60 days, regardless of the outcome of the hearing or legal proceeding. even if a postponement has taken place. This is because I have no control over court proceedings and in my experience, some law firms cannot or cannot expedite the case due to their litigation « style » in handling personal injury cases. This often leads to changes, and things can drag on for years. The guide states: « Unless otherwise agreed, the lawyer is personally responsible for paying the appropriate fees of a professional agent or other person he engages on behalf of his client, whether or not they are paid by his client. » This principle applies to declaration and other eligible work costs, as well as witness expenses. However, the lawyer will attempt to pay a similar fee to the CPS, since in the event of costs being awarded (either through legal aid or following the victory of the litigation), eligible costs will be limited to the amount that the CDA considers reasonable. The typical forensic assessment fee for 2017 is R14,000.00 including VAT. An invoice is submitted and the report is faxed or emailed and published when the account is paid.