Trying to bring a personal injury claim by yourself can be complex and stressful. That’s why it’s always strongly recommended that you use the expert services of solicitors who are experienced in this area of the law. In the context of such cases, you will often find mention of no-win, no-fee personal injury solicitor services. If you’re wondering what this means, we’ll explain how the no win, no fee concept applies in the case of personal injury solicitors.
A no win, no fee agreement is also known as a conditional fee agreement, or ‘no foal, no fee’. In brief, it’s an agreement between the client and their solicitor that if the claim for compensation is unsuccessful, the client is not liable to pay the solicitor’s fees for acting in their case.
The lawyer takes out an insurance policy on your behalf that covers them for the cost of the services they carry out for you. Typical expenses relate to court fees, medical reports, and other such costs incurred in pursuit of your compensation claim.
For the client, this ensures there are no nasty surprises in the form of hidden fees or additional payments once the compensation claim process is complete.
Naturally, the insurance policy will not pay out if the claim is frivolous or if there is no clear evidence that the individual or company against whom the claim is being made was responsible for your accident. It’s therefore very important that you take an experienced lawyer’s advice on whether they think your claim stands a good chance of success.
If your case is successful and you are awarded compensation, a significant proportion of your solicitor’s costs are paid for by the person or the company that has been held responsible for the injury. The remaining costs are covered by what’s called a success fee, which is usually a percentage of overall sum of compensation awarded to the client.
Therefore, clients don’t need to worry about having to pay substantial legal costs whether their claim is successful or not, as the conditional fee agreement will cover them either way.
What is the catch?
There really is no catch. The conditional fee agreement is part of a larger system designed to give everyone, no matter what their financial circumstances, equal access to the judicial system.
Typically, the client must pay their solicitor for acting for them in most civil court proceedings, although they may be able to recoup the costs from the losing party or their representatives. But no win no fee personal injury claim solicitors will not ask for any payment from the client, whether the case is lost or won.
When did the no win, no fee policy begin?
The system was first introduced in 2000. Its purpose was to remove the need for the injured party to pay legal fees, so they could pursue a personal injury claim for compensation without the worry that they would end up financially disadvantaged. In other words, it allows accident victims to receive a fair settlement for injuries that were caused by another party’s carelessness or negligence, regardless of their financial situation.
This policy also deters disreputable companies from encouraging frivolous claims because the incentive is extremely small if the case wins under this system.
What claims can be pursued under this policy?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are covered by this policy. These include car accidents, slips, accidents at work, whiplash accidents, motorbike accidents, and in certain circumstances, cases of medical negligence. However, some exemptions still apply, including claims made through the criminal injuries compensation board or through the motor insurance board, which deals with personal injury cases where the responsible party cannot be traced.
In essence, if a client has been injured because of negligence and through no fault of their own, they can access the legal system with the help of a no-win, no-fee policy. Your lawyer will give you expert advice on the chances of you succeeding in your pursuit of justice and will then work on the case on your behalf if you decide you want to proceed.
The two main advantages of the no win, no fee system are that firstly, it encourages solicitors only to take on the strongest of claims and secondly, it encourages anyone with a right to make a claim to access fair justice.
What do I need to start a claim with a no-win, no-fee system?
If you have been involved in an accident that’s happened through no fault of your own, you have every right to pursue a claim and seek compensation from the negligent party. It’s worth stressing that the no win, no fee system is not designed to make you rich. Instead, its purpose is to secure adequate compensation for your injuries so that you can get your life back on track.
The amount you are awarded if your case is successful will compensate you not only for the injuries, physical, and psychological distress that you have suffered but will also cover any travel fees and medical expenses that you have needed to pay out as a result of the accident. This includes any money you have lost through having to take time off work.
With a no win, no fee policy, you will not be asked for any money upfront before a solicitor will begin working on your case.
What if I lose the claim?
Usually, personal injury claims solicitors will only take on cases that they are relatively sure they will win. However, in the unlikely event that the claim is unsuccessful, the solicitor will not charge their clients for any legal fees, as the name of the policy suggests.
An experienced lawyer will advise their client on the strength of their case before proceedings begin. They may even advise withdrawing a claim altogether if they believe the chances of losing are high. If you lose your case, you will not be awarded any compensation at all, no matter how serious your injuries were.
As noted, if the claim is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay their lawyer’s fees. However, the opposing side has the right to claim their own legal expenses and court costs from the claimant. These cases are relatively rare, but if that should happen, contingency measures like ‘after event’ insurance will cover any further legal costs.
Everyone has the right to legal representation, especially for injuries that are not their fault. That’s why you should have the best solicitors to represent you when you bring a claim.
At Lalloo Solicitors, our caring and experienced personal injury solicitors are ready to lend a hand. If you have been involved in an accident through no fault of your own that you believe was caused by another party’s carelessness or negligence, call and make an appointment with us today. We will talk through your case to evaluate its strengths and advise you on whether we think you should pursue a personal injury claim.
Our extensive expertise in this area of the law has helped many clients in the past and we can extend the same assistance to you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions – we are always glad to help.