No Win No Fee Solicitors
Everyone is aware of the term but few people who have never been involved in an accident claim before know the practicalities behind the phrase “No Win, No Fee.”
No win no fee agreements have become commonplace since the late 1990s as it has become more and more difficult to secure legal aid which has been almost wiped out for claims related to personal injury and clinical negligence.
In many respects a “No Win, No Fee” arrangement is exactly what it says on the tin, which is to say that this. If you pursue a claim and are unsuccessful then your solicitor will not charge you for their costs. However, if are successful then, your solicitor has won the right to recover his or her reasonable costs. How these costs will be recovered depends on which of the two types of “No Win, No Fee” agreement that you have entered into. These are:
Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) – Under a conditional fee agreement the insurer for the other party (or in some cases the other party themselves) will either pay your costs at a fixed level or they will be assessed by the court depending on the value of your claim. In addition a proportion of your damages (not exceeding 25%) may be taken as part of costs. The percentage to be taken will be agreed at the time the firm is instructed and you will be able to discuss this percentage before you commit to an agreement.
Damages Based Agreements (DBA) – Under a damages based agreement your solicitor will be paid a proportion of your damages of no more than 25% of your damages (but unrestricted if your case is an appeal). In many lower value claims the third party insurer will also contribute a fixed fee to the other side. Where this is the case the fixed fee will first be taken from the insurer with money from your damages only to be taken to “top up” the fee to the equivalent of the agreement percentage of damages.
However, while your solicitors can agree to waive their fees if your claim is unsuccessful there are also other costs which are necessarily incurred in claims which they have no control over. These “disbursements” include expert fees (for example in personal injury cases a medical report is required from a doctor) and court fees. There is also potential for the Defendant to recover their costs from you if they make an offer which you do not accept and you go on to recover less than the offered amount at trial. You will remain liable for these fees if your claim is unsuccessful; for this reason we recommend that insurance is obtained to protect you against having to pay personally for these disbursements.
After the event (ATE) insurance is a means of protecting individuals from having to pay legal costs and disbursements following the outcome of legal proceedings. If your claim does not succeed and you have a policy, payment of the disbursements you have incurred (and the Defendant’s costs if they have beaten their own offer) will be made by your after the event insurance company and not by you. The ATE policy will also pay its own premium so, if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be left with a bill. However, if you obtain ATE insurance you will have to pay an insurance premium from your damages if your claim is successful.
If obtaining insurance at the outset of your case the premium will generally be less and you can obtain details of the premium before deciding whether to proceed or not. However it might be an overcautious step at this stage and it may be advisable to await the response to your claim from the other side before deciding whether or not insurance is needed.
Legal Expenses Insurance
You may have an existing policy of insurance to cover you against having to pay any costs if you lose your claim. We need to check this out before we start the process of pursuing your case but this has no impact upon you or your insurance premiums.
If you are a trade union member, you may have funding options through your membership. This does not mean, however, that you must instruct the trade union appointed lawyer to pursue your claim and in fact, several of our clients have repeatedly instructed us or referred clients to us as they recognise that the quality of our service and work we do is frequently far superior to the trade union appointed lawyers.
So, What’s Next?
We have a team of caring professional personal injury solicitors ready to speak to you.
Most cases can be conducted entirely online and over the phone. We can also arrange office, home or hospital visits for clients all over the UK. Subject to level of injury suffered.