The large majority of personal injury claims are funded by a conditional fee agreement, commonly called a “no win, no fee” arrangement. It is important to be aware that this does not mean your case will be “free” should your claim be unsuccessful. This article looks at the charges you are likely to be required to pay.
No win, no fee
A no win, no fee arrangement is an agreement between you and your solicitor about how your case will be paid for. If your compensation claim is not successful, your solicitor will not getpaid for the work they have done on your case. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will get paid in part by the other party to the claim, typically through their insurance company.
The fee arrangement was introduced to resolve the dilemma that potential claimants were facing having suffered an accident which was not their fault but being unable to afford the legal advice necessary in order to bring a compensation claim. No win, no fee arrangements became more popular after legal aid was abolished. A no win, no fee claim gives claimants the chance of obtaining compensation due to them, even if they do not have the necessary means to pay up front solicitors’ costs.
A no win, no fee arrangement is a type of conditional fee agreement (CFA). Details of the fee arrangement between you and your solicitor will be set out in a legally binding CFA document.
Assessment of your case
Solicitors will undertake a full assessment of your case before deciding whether to take it on under a no win, no fee arrangement. The assessment reviews the merits of your case and estimates the likeliness of your claim being successful. It is critical that you disclose as much information as possible at the outset of your claim to your solicitor and that this information is true and accurate. If it is later discovered that the information you have provided is misleading, you would be liable for the fees of your solicitor in full.
When accepting your case on a no win, no fee basis, your solicitor is taking on the risk of your claim by providing you with legal services whilst covering the costs of your case. You will not be required to pay any legal fees up front. However, in return for this arrangement, you will be required to pay your solicitor a “success fee” should you recover compensation.
How your solicitor is paid
Details regarding payment of fees will be set out in your CFA document. If your claim is successful, you will be expected to pay a part of your solicitor’s fees at the end of the case. Such “success fees” are usually agreed as a percentage of the compensation recovered and are typically around 25%. The majority of your solicitor’s fees will be recovered from the other side, usually through an insurance company.
If your claim is unsuccessful, how much you will pay, depends on the terms of your CFA. Typically, you will not be required to pay the fees of your solicitor but you may be liable to pay other costs and charges, such as:
- Court costs if any application to court has been necessary;
- Expert’s fees to cover any reports, opinions and evidence provided by experts such as medics, surveyors, accountants or other professionals used as part of your claim;
- Miscellaneous costs and disbursements of your solicitor may be payable under the terms of your CFA such as for legal searches and official copy documents; and
- Legal expenses insurance premium as you may wish to take out an after the event insurance policy at the start of your case to cover you for the other side’s legal costs in case your claim is unsuccessful. It may be a requirement of your CFA for you to take out a legal expenses insurance policy before your solicitor will accept your case.
You may find that you are able to use an existing insurance policy, such as a household, credit card or bank account policy, if that includes legal expenses cover. The terms of any existing policy should be carefully reviewed to see whether any of the above costs would be covered and if not, consideration should be given to putting in place further insurance before you proceed with your claim. After all, there is no guarantee of success in litigation.
When instructing a solicitor on a no win, no fee basis, be absolutely certain that you know the terms of your agreement and the charges which you will be responsible for whether or not you win your case. At Russell Worth we have continued to develop and grow our no win, no fee case load. We offer a competitive service with experienced and dedicated solicitors and case handlers.
At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident that was not your fault and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.