InsightsInsight - Personal Injury and Industrial Disease - POSTED: August 1 2018
No win, no fee – what does it mean?
‘No win, no fee’ is the popular term for solicitors’ conditional fee agreements. The law has changed for no win, no fee funding of personal injury claims
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However, Brachers solicitors still offer a genuine no win, no fee service for personal injury claims and normally pay all the claim’s expenses for you.
For personal injury claims under a no win, no fee agreement with Brachers solicitors, provided you follow your responsibilities, you will never have to pay a penny out of your own pocket for our legal charges. In the event a contribution for costs is required from you this will be deducted from your compensation at the end of the claim. Any contribution would be capped to guarantee you keep most of your compensation whatever happens. You, therefore, have nothing to worry about or lose in making a claim with a Brachers solicitor’s no win, no fee agreement.
Taking your case on a no win, no fee.
How long will it take us to decide whether we can take your personal injury claim case on a no win, no fee?
Every case is different and to take a case on a no win, no fee we have to be confident that the claim should succeed. Very often we are able to decide this on the same day; once we have had a chat with you about the circumstances and you’ve given us any immediately available evidence. In other cases we might need to carry out some further investigations before we can assess your claim’s prospects, e.g. speaking to a witness, obtaining medical or employment records. This could take between a few days and several weeks.
What will we charge you for assessing whether we can take your case on a no win, no fee?
Nothing. Very rarely other agencies might charge admin fees for obtaining records we may need to make our assessment. However, since the GDPR Regulations 2018, you are normally entitled to get such records free of charge.
What does no win, no fee mean if I lose my personal injury claim?
For our own charges
No win, no fee means just what it says when it comes to our own charges as solicitors. Provided you follow your responsibilities you pay nothing for our charges if you lose your claim.
It’s no win, no fee for our solicitors’ charges, but what about other claims expenses?
There are other costs in making a personal injury claim on top of solicitors’ services; expenses like medical reports and court fees, sometimes called “disbursements”. No win, no fee does not cover these expenses.
However, insurance can cover them. You may have such insurance already (e.g. as part of your household insurance) or we can arrange no win, no fee insurance for you to cover your liability for expenses if you lose.
Some no win, no fee solicitors will make you pay for claims expenses upfront. With Brachers’ no win, no fee agreements normally we will pay all the expenses for you as the case goes along provided insurance is in place. Exceptionally, if disbursements reach several thousands we may ask you for a contribution. However, we will only ever ask you to pay anything if you have the means to pay this. Even then this does not happen in most cases, but e.g. in high value cases where we have to issue court proceedings or need to get multiple medical experts.
It’s no win, no fee for our solicitors’ costs, but what about the cost of insurance?
If we need to take out no win, no fee insurance the premium for that insurance also works on a no win, no fee – the insurance premium is just written off if you lose.
It’s no win, no fee for our solicitors’ costs, but what about the defendant’s costs?
No win, no fee for solicitors’ costs does not cover the defendant’s costs. However, due to a change in the law in no win, no fee cases normally personal injury claimants no longer have to pay anything for the defendant’s costs if they lose.
There are still certain situations where you might be responsible for defendant’s costs, for example, mesothelioma claims (where we would arrange insurance to cover this) or where the defendant made an offer to settle which you rejected but failed to beat. The court could then take away part or all of your compensation to pay the defendant’s costs. These situations should be covered by insurance. The one situation that is not covered by no win, no fee insurance is if a claim were found to be fundamentally dishonest. Obviously we would discourage any dishonest claims.
What does no win, no fee mean if I win?
The flipside to no win, no fee is that if you win there are certain costs to be paid out of your compensation (except for mesothelioma civil claims), but these are limited and capped by Brachers to ensure you keep most of your compensation.
No win, no fee – the success fee
We charge success fees in no win, no fee cases to compensate us for the risk of not getting paid if claims are lost or where clients fail to beat a defendant’s offer. This fee is calculated as a percentage uplift on the basic solicitors’ charges for our time. The percentage uplift in no win, no fee cases is assessed taking into account the risks in your case at the time we took it on.
Like most solicitors we also charge 10% in no win, no fee cases to help make up for Brachers solicitors not getting paid until the case finishes. The success fee in no win, no fee cases used to be recoverable from the defendant. Unfortunately due to a change in the law, it is no longer (except for mesothelioma civil claims, where therefore we make no deduction from compensation).
However, by law, the success fee in no win, no fee cases charged by solicitors (and any barristers) is capped and limited to no more than 25% of your compensation for your injuries and past losses. (often it works out rather less).
No win, no fee – shortfall in solicitors’ charges
If you win a no win, no fee case, we can recover a contribution to our basic solicitors’ costs from the defendant. The actual solicitors’ costs are usually rather less than the solicitors’ costs that can be recovered (typically about 20% less). Some solicitors firms will always charge clients for the full amount of that shortfall.
At Brachers solicitors in larger no win, no fee cases and certain other cases we agree to cap our charges to you so that any charges for shortfall and success fee combined are limited- usually to a maximum of 25% of your total compensation, provided you follow your responsibilities. (It often turns out rather less).
In smaller no win, no fee cases settled for under £25,000 due to a change in the law the basic solicitors costs we can recover are now usually fixed. This is quite often at a very low amount far below the actual solicitors’ costs. Where recoverable solicitors costs are fixed like this if there is a difference between our actual solicitors costs and the fixed recoverable costs, we will usually charge something for the shortfall. However, our no win, no fee agreements still limit what we charge for shortfall. In these cases, we agree that whatever we deduct for our charges – whether it’s for shortfall or success fee – we limit what we charge for success fees and shortfall combined to no more than 33% of your compensation. (It could be less).
No win, no fee – the cost of insurance
If we arrange no win, no fee insurance for you the premium is only payable at the end of the case, as a deduction from your compensation. The premium typically ranges from about £170 in smaller cases to about £3,500 in large/complex claims.
These no win, no fee insurance premiums used to be recoverable from the defendants but sadly due to a change in the law they are no longer (except in mesothelioma claims).
In both larger and smaller no win, no fee cases even after deduction for success fee/shortfall and insurance you would still keep the large majority of your compensation.
No win, no fee – are the deductions fair?
We think they are unfair and we lobbied hard against the changes. However, they are the result of a deliberate change of government policy with no win, no fee claims; to make claimants contribute to the cost of making claims through their compensation. To help make up for this the courts have increased compensation for injuries by 10%, but in most no win, no fee cases this does not make up for the deductions.
What personal injury claims can we take on a no win, no fee?
Pretty much any type of personal injury claim; from simple fractures to serious head and psychiatric injuries, spinal injuries and industrial/asbestos diseases.
The main conditions are that we think there is a reasonable chance of your claim succeeding and (in fixed fee cases) being worth £10,000 or more (and for road traffic claims that the injury is more than soft tissue or worth over £25,000).
No win, no fee – what do we guarantee?
If we take your case on a no win, no fee provided you follow your responsibilities, Brachers solicitors guarantee:
- we will not charge you a penny for our service if you lose
- we will normally pay all your claims expenses as the case goes along
- we will cap any charges if you win
- we will provide you with a first class service.
No win, no fee – what are my responsibilities?
In return we just ask clients to be fair and honest with us:
- give us instructions to allow us to work for you properly until your case concludes
- not ask us to work in an improper or and reasonable way
- not deliberately mislead us
- cooperate with us
- go to any necessary expert appointment or court hearing.
Get in touch today for an initial free consultation. You can contact us via email or call us on 01622 680430.
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