In Part 10 of this series of blogs, we answer your questions about funding your personal injury or clinical negligence claim and in particular “No win, no fee agreements”.
How is my claim personal injury or clinical negligence funded?
We will talk with you to establish the best method to fund your claim. We will look at whether you have existing legal expense insurance that is suitable for your claim or whether you have any right to legal assistance or Trade Union funding. If not, we will consider entering a “No win, no fee agreement” if we consider there are reasonable prospects of success.
What is a “no win, no fee agreement”?
The official term is a Conditional Fee Agreement.
If someone else is to blame for causing you an injury then we will take the financial risk away from you in bringing a claim. We will not charge you a fee if you are unsuccessful and we will arrange insurance to cover the cost of any legal expenses that may be incurred where appropriate.
Do I have to pay if I win?
If you win your claim you are entitled to seek recovery from your opponent of part or all of our basic charges and our expenses and disbursements, but not the success fee or any insurance premium.
The overall amount we will charge you for our basic charges, success fees, expenses and disbursements is limited. Usually the overall cap is 25% of your compensation so that you know that you will receive 75% of your compensation. We pay for any insurance policy premium we take out for you from the success fee that we charge so that you do not have to pay any extra.
It may be that your opponent makes a formal offer to settle your claim which you reject on our advice, and your claim for damages goes ahead to trial where you recover damages that are less than that offer. If this happens, we will not add our success fee to the basic charges for the work done after we received notice of the offer or payment. In these circumstances, you may be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs, but only up to the amount of damages and interest awarded to you. The insurance cover we take out for you will cover that liability.
Do I have to pay anything else?
We may require you to pay costs called disbursements at the point they are needed but we will always discuss this with you and seek to avoid you having to do this. Disbursements are fees we have to pay to others such as Court fees and Police report fees etc. It might be that you qualify for a Court fee remission which will avoid the need for you to pay. We will often invite the Defendants to provide an interim payment which can then be used to fund disbursements. Furthermore we also have arrangements with Medical agencies to defer payment of medical report fees.
What do I pay if I lose?
If you lose you will normally have the benefit of “Qualified One-Way Cost Shifting” so the court will not usually enforce an order for costs against you, unless:
- the proceedings have been struck out; or
- the claim is fundamentally dishonest; or
- the claim includes a claim for the financial benefit of someone else.
If you lose, you do not pay our charges.
Do I need insurance?
As in the answer to question 5 above, if you lose you will normally have the benefit of Qualified One-Way Cost Shifting so the court will not usually enforce an order for costs against you.
However, if you lose, your legal expenses insurance will pay:
Your own disbursements e.g. the cost of medical reports and court fees
Cost orders where a court orders you to pay your opponent’s costs because you have rejected an offer of settlement but fail to recover a greater sum at conclusion.
We pay the insurance premium from the success fee that we deduct so there is no extra charge to you.