No Win, No Fee Personal Injury Claim
The Pros and Cons of a “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claim
There are advantages and disadvantages of making a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim, and although this particular guide to the pros and cons of making a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim is provided for those who have sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, the information herein is applicable to anybody who has sustained a loss or injury due to the negligence of a third party.
The Background to “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Compensation Claims
“No Win, No Fee” personal injury compensation claims were first introduced in 2000, when Legal Aid for personal injury claims was withdrawn by the government. As this cost-cutting manoeuvre disadvantaged those most in need of legal representation, personal injury solicitors started to offer “conditional fee agreements”, where the claimant would not pay the solicitor´s legal fees should they fail to win their personal injury claim. In time, these came to be known as “No Win, No Fee” personal injury compensation claims and access to them was extended to anybody who had sustained a personal loss or injury due to another party´s lack of care.
The Pros of a “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claim
The introduction of “No Win, No Fee” personal injury compensation claims had obvious financial advantages to those entitled to make a personal injury claim. Furthermore, as personal injury solicitors could cherry pick which claims they would handle on a “No Win, No Fee” basis, success was virtually guaranteed – easing the concerns of those who were accepted to make a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim and often facilitating quicker settlements when insurance companies representing the negligent party came to discover that the solicitor was representing the claimant without an up-front fee.
The Cons of a “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claim
One of the major changes when “No Win, No Fee” personal injury compensation claims were introduced was that solicitors could now charge a “success fee” on top of their regular legal fees. This additional fee was permitted as solicitors were now taking an element of risk when accepting a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim, but was limited to 100% above the solicitor´s regular legal fees (many solicitors nowadays have much lower success fees). Although the losing defendant in a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim is responsible for paying all the legal costs, if a judge feels that the sum of the legal fees, success fee and disbursements (more on these below) is too high, he will cap the amount to be paid in costs, and the claimant would then become liable for the shortfall – often having to pay the excess out of their personal injury claim settlement.
Other Costs Associated With Personal Injury Claims
Inasmuch as a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim gives the impression that you pay nothing should you lose your case, this is not strictly true. The “No Fee” applies only to your solicitor´s legal fees (you obviously will not be paying a success win if you fail to win your claim) and the costs incurred by solicitors in the preparation of a personal injury claim (or “disbursements” as they are known) can often be charged back to the claimant. The potential for costs increases substantially when you consider that, should you lose your “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim, you are also liable for the legal fees and disbursement of the “winning” defendant.
Insurance Against Loss in a “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claim
With the potential for a considerable financial liability should you lose a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim, solicitors will ask clients that they accept on this basis to take out an “After the Event” insurance policy. Inasmuch as many people have legal fee insurance on an existing household contents or car insurance policy, often the liability limits on these policies are insufficient to cover the costs you may be responsible for should you lose your “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim. The cost of the insurance can be reclaimed should you win your case – subject to a cap imposed by a judge – however, “After the Event” insurance will not cover any shortfall in your own solicitor´s fees should you win your “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim and the judge feel that the combined fees are excessive.
“No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claims and Compensation Settlements
Other than when an award of compensation is reduced to cover outstanding legal fees, there is no difference in what you will receive whether you make a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim or pursue your claim via an alternative method. Not all circumstances are suited to “No Win, No Fee” personal injury compensation claims and there are certain types of cases where solicitors will decline to offer legal representation on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. Compensation settlements are based on the validity of each case, and there is no truth in the urban myth that solicitors will work harder on your behalf if there is a doubt that they will fail to be paid should they lose.
Choosing a “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Claim Solicitor
There is one scenario when you may not be able to choose a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim solicitor to represent you, and that is when you claim against the legal fee expenses insurance on your household contents or car insurance policy. Often, these insurance companies will prefer to keep your personal injury claim “in-house” and this may also mean that you have to accept any “reasonable” offer from the defendant´s insurance company. Outside of these circumstances, you are free to choose whichever “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim solicitor you feel is best able to represent your interests.
Get Free Advice on “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury Compensation Claims
If you or somebody close to you has been injured in an accident for which you were not entirely to blame, you are invited to contact our freephone injury claims advice service and speak directly with a solicitor to determine that you have a personal injury claim which is worth your while to pursue and establish whether a “No Win, No Fee” is the most suitable course of action for you to follow.
Our solicitors have over twenty years of experience, are accredited by the Law Society and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and – most importantly – acknowledge that when you call our freephone injury claims advice service, you will have recently experienced a distressing physical or emotional trauma. Consequently, you will find our solicitors understanding, willing to provide practical advice and able to communicate in plain English.
We recommend that when you call our freephone injury claims advice service you have a list of questions written down in order that an important point is not overlooked during the course of our conversation, and that you have a notepad handy to make any notes which you may wish to refer back to at a later date. Please also allow plenty of time for your call.
We understand that making the right choice about your solicitor is of vital importance, and therefore there is no obligation on you to proceed with a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim once you have spoken with us. We find that many of our clients wish to discuss their options with family and friends, and we recognise that you may need to speak with us on more than one occasion before deciding on your next course of action. No matter on what you ultimately resolve to do, you can be assured of a professional and dedicated service from us at all times.