Settled Personal Injury Case includes Cost of Mandarin Translation
In this personal injury translation cost case(Jin v. Caleca,2013 BCSC 1614) settlement of the personal injury claim was reached but the defendant refused to pay the costs the personal injury lawyer had incurred in having his legal advice interpreted for the client. Having English as a second language should not prevent an injury claimant from obtaining a fair settlement or proper legal advice for a personal injury claim following a car accident. The court agreed awarding the injury claimant the full cost of the interpretation and translation service. It was conceded that the expense for the personal injury law firm to retain a translator to have the lawyers fully and effectively communicate with the claimant was proper and necessary.
The injury claimant’s first language was Mandarin, and her ability to communicate in the English language was very limited. She hired an English speaking personal injury lawyer that successfully settled her case and went on to advertise that translator fees are provided “at no cost to you” on his web site. The Court concluded there was no term in the retainer agreement that held the claimant harmless for any translation fee services and therefore the defendant was required to pay the full expense. By operation of the law the claimant may also be entitled to interest on the amount paid for interpretation by a translator.
Although I agree with the result I question whether the lawyer in this case was required to disclose the retainer of claimant to the Court and whether principles of privity of contract would work against any benefit the defendant may hope to gain under this separate agreement.