UK car accident solicitor explains how long it takes to receive your compensation monies for whiplash when your claim is settled but your solicitor’s legal costs have yet to be agreed
Richmond London Car Accident Victim Question
I was stopped at a set of traffic lights in Richmond in London when a ford transit van drove into the back of my car.
I was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a whiplash neck injury and cracked ribs from the impact of my chest on the steering wheel.
I instructed a solicitor and a without prejudice offer of settlement made after medical evidence was produced. I accepted this offer on advice from my lawyer.
My Solicitor has now received the cheque for my compensation, but will not release it as the van driver’s insurer will not agree to pay my solicitor’s costs.
Is this the norm? It was a no win no fee, but am I liable for the costs if the other side don’t agree? My solicitor is not asking for me to pay the costs just to bear with him while he is trying to get his costs.
Road Traffic Accident Solicitor Response
For a no win no fee agreement to result at the end of the claim in the other side paying your legal costs – it must include a provision that you are responsible for costs in the event of a successful claim.
This in itself is nothing to worry about as the provision is the same for all legal funding agreements and in essence allows your solicitor to demand payment of costs from the van driver at fault and in turn his motor insurance company.
Small level road traffic accidents, especially if settled without the need for proceedings to be issued at court, are subject to fixed fees. The van driver’s motor insurer should pay this as a matter of course.
Claims attracting a higher level of compensation can result in the other side being responsible for paying reasonable costs dependent on the amount of time spent working on your claim. Such claims can lead to a dispute in the amount of costs to be paid.
It is for your solicitor in this instance to show that the time was reasonably incurred – invariably your solicitor will not receive payment of all costs, but a compromise can be reached.
Some no win no fee agreements allow a solicitor to come to the client for the shortfall – some other agreements do not. It will depend on the specific wording of your agreement.
If your solicitor is to attempt to take a deduction from your RTA compensation monies you should have been informed at the beginning of your claim and prior to agreeing settlement.
Some solicitors refuse to release compensation monies until the costs issue is resolved – this is not improper.
It could be that your solicitor did not specify that your settlement was to be subject to payment of costs and although generally this can be taken as read – your solicitor might be erring on the side of caution by retaining your cheque to represent that no agreement is reached if costs is not also to be met.
The informed answer to your question lies in a careful reading of your no win no fee agreement to see specifically what it says in relation to disputed fees, but if your solicitor is telling you that you are not to be charged and your compensation cheque is being retained until costs can be agreed – I do not on the face see a problem with that.
How long it will take you to receive your cheque will however be dependent on how fast your solicitor can negotiate a settlement in relation to legal fees.
Online solicitor help with claims in Richmond London
If you have a road traffic accident in the future and wish to claim compensation or wish to speak to me direct free of charge about an accident you are involved in Richmond or elsewhere in the country click car accident whiplash claim Richmond.