The reference to ‘Costs’ or ‘Court Costs’ during settlement discussions is typically a reference to a sum of money that would be calculated under ‘Schedule C’ in the Alberta Rules of Court. Basically everyone who successfully brings a legal claim is entitled to ‘Costs’ against the unsuccessful defendant. There are various types of ‘Costs’ awards, but by far the most common is what is called ‘Party and Party Costs’. When there is a settlement with an at-fault insurer, the payment of ‘Costs’ is a normal part of that settlement. The calculation of the amount of ‘Costs’ is done by looking at ‘Schedule C’ of the Rules of Court. Basically, you get a certain amount for every step that you’ve taken in your case; the more that your case is worth, the more that you get for each step.
In most cases, if the claim is settled before trial, Costs will amount to roughly $5,000 to $7,500. Cases that go to trial can have Costs easily in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. These Costs are paid in addition to the other parts of your claim, which would include ‘General Damages’ (damages for pain and suffering), ‘Special Damages’ (expenses that you incurred as a plaintiff to treat your injuries), ‘Disbursements’ (out of pocket expenses incurred by your lawyer as part of running your case – e.g. treatment notes, expert reports, etc.). Lawyers are allowed to take a percentage of the Costs recovered on your behalf (as long as that percentage does not exceed the percentage that you agreed to pay the lawyer on the main part of your file).