conditional fee agreement no win no fee

Conditional Fee Agreement: How To Use No Win No Fee To Fund Your Workplace Injury Claim

Discover what a conditional fee agreement is; how a no win no fee ensures you do not pay the majority of your solicitor’s legal fees when claiming compensation for a work injury; how to obtain insurance to pay additional legal costs (known as disbursements) and other types of funding arrangements that might be available to you (including legal protection cover).

What is a conditional fee / no win no fee agreement?

A “conditional fee agreement” or CFA is the technical term used to represent a funding agreement for your solicitor’s legal fees in pursuing a work injury claim (it does apply equally to personal injury claims of other types, such as road accidents, etc.).

An alternative name used by solicitors with the public for the same agreement is a “no win no fee” agreement.

Liability for payment of fees conditional on success

As the name suggests your liability for payment of your legal fees is conditional on success.

In other words – if your solicitor does not win your work injury claim – you do not have a liability to pay your solicitor’s fees.

Watch out – exceptions may apply to paying your solicitors fees should you lose as specified in the CFA agreement. For example – if you have misled your solicitor about the work accident circumstances or extent of your injuries.

However, if you do win – you have a liability to meet your solicitor’s fees in making a claim.

In the event of success – it does not necessarily mean you will have to pay your solicitor’s fees.

In a work injury claim – as other personal injury claims, part of your claim from your employer will be for your legal fees (this is in addition to compensation for your injuries).

Your employer however will have no duty to pay your legal fees if you have no liability to pay them yourself.

In other words – if you win your claim and did not have a liability to meet your legal fees – your employer would not have to pay your solicitor’s fees as part of your claim, as you would not have to pay them yourself. Slightly complicated – but this is how the law works.

Watch out – as you will see later in this article. Your employer will rarely have to pay all your legal fees even when you have a liability to pay them.

Conditional fee agreements are better known as no win no fee agreements

The term solicitors use with the public – no win no fee – has become popular as it helps explain how the agreement works.

If you do not win – you have no fee to meet.

If you do win you do have a liability to meet your solicitor’s fees, but the majority of this fee is met by your employer as part of your work claim – see later.

work accident conditional fee agreement
Work Accident Conditional Fee Agreement

What should a work accident conditional fee agreement include?

The conditional fee agreement should set out:

Date the agreement is to take effect

This is the date the no win no fee agreement begins to fund your claim.

Remember – no solicitor should act in your personal injury claim unless a fundng arrangement is in place.

the maximum percentage that can be deducted from your compensation for unrecovered legal costs.

Your solicitor fee rate describes how much your solicitor is entitled to charge per hour, which will vary depending on the number of years experience of the solicitor concerned.

You may have a number of different solicitors or legal assistants working on your claim – all with different charge rates as set out in your no win no fee agreement.

For example  – a solicitor with 3 years experience will have a lower hourly rate than a solicitor with over 10 years experience.

Annual date charge rates can be reviewed

Personal injury claims can take a long time to complete – sometimes a number of years. Your CFA should include a term as to when your solicitor’s hourly charge rates can be reviewed.

Success fee

The success fee describes how much of an uplift, or percentage enhancement, your solicitor can charge if your work accident claim is successful. This is normally expressed as a percentage.

For example – a success fee uplift of 50% will add an extra 50% to the hourly rate if your claim succeeds.

The idea behind the success fee is to ensure that your solicitor is compensated for the costs missed out in claims he was not successful in. In essence – your solicitor is gambling that should he win your claim he will receive his legal costs plus the success fee.

Percentage cap on deductions from compensation

We discuss this point in more detail in another of our no win no fee solicitor funding articles.

You may not be responsible for your legal fees if your claim fails, but if your claim succeeds – your solicitor will seek payment of the bulk of your legal costs from your employer (and in turn your employer’s insurer).

Your employer will not have to pay all of your conditional fee agreement fees and any unrecovered fees can be recovered from your compensation (typically capped at 25%).

Watch out – no win no fee agreements dated prior to the 1st April 2013 may still require the losing party to pay all of your legal costs when you win your claim.

Disbursements are sums of money that your lawyer has to pay out on your behalf to allow you to make your work injury claim and include such things as the cost of obtaining a medical report.

An insurance policy to meet the cost of these disbursements (should you lose your work injury claim)  can be obtained via your solicitor.

Barrister’s fees

See our whiplash compensation lawyer article (using a road accident as an example) that describes why your solicitor might wish to instruct a barrister before settling your work accident claim.

Your solicitor can put in place a barrister’s conditional fee agreement – whereby the barristers fees are met in a similar way to those of your solicitor under a no win no fee agreement.

Your solicitor bears the risk of your claim

A no win no fee agreement is therefore a very useful tool – you will feel that your solicitor is doing everything possible to win your claim, as failure will result in a loss of all the chargeable time spent by your lawyer in running your work accident claim.

There are many other types of legal funding agreements available to meet your solicitor’s fees for a work accident claim. However, most are far more expensive than conditional fee agreements and practical reality are generally not considered (with the exception of legal protection cover).

Legal protection cover is in essence a Before The Event Insurance Policy.

In other words – before you have had a work accident you have paid slightly extra on an insurance policy to cover the cost of paying a solicitor (should you have need of a solicitor during the period of your insurance).

For example, you can often find legal protection cover on household contents insurance, which will cover your solicitor’s costs in making work accident claims and many other types of injury claim (even sometimes contractual disputes).

Tip – Household contents legal protection covers most type of accident claims, but not road accident claims. You would need legal protection cover on your motor insurance to meet your solicitor’s costs in making a road accident claim.

Summary Of Work Injury Conditional Fee / No Win No Fee

In this article – you have seen that a conditional fee agreement is the technical name for a no win no fee agreement; how a CFA ensures you do not pay your solicitor’s fees if your work injury claim is not successful and how the majority of your legal expenses / solicitor fees are payable by the other side in the event of success.

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