no win no fee personal injury claim

No Win No Fee: How To Fund The Legal Cost Of Your Personal Injury Claim

Find out how no win no fee agreements can allow you to claim personal injury compensation without paying your legal fees up front (only in the event your claim is successful).

We describe the different types of legal costs that can be incurred when making a claim,

Finally, we discuss other alternative ways of funding your claim, For example – legal expenses insurance policies, which you may not realise you already have in place.

No Win No Fee Article Contents

Your legal costs are made up of two main parts:

Your solicitor’s professional fees

Fees for the time spent by your injury lawyer working on your compensation claim. The amount will depend on the charge per hour known as the “charge rate” (sometimes known as the hourly rate)

You Should Be Notified Of The Charge Rate In Writing
You should be notified of your solicitor’s charge rate in writing at the beginning of your claim.

Disbursements

Sums of money that your accident solicitor makes no profit on and pays on your behalf, which include: expense to receive copies of your GP notes and money paid in court fees to start your claim.

Insurance Policies To Meet Disbursements
Should you lose your claim, you will have to meet your own disbursements expense.
You will see later in this article the types of insurance policies, which can protect you from paying your disbursement expense.

If your claim is found to be fundamentally dishonest – you will be responsible for paying the other side’s legal costs. In such instances your own solicitor may also require you to pay their legal costs.

Fundamental dishonesty refers to claims that are either staged, fraudulent or are grossly exaggerated.

Fundamental Dishonesty When Part Of Your Claim Is Exaggerated
It may be that you have a legitimate claim, but you are exaggerating one part of it.
For example – you injure your leg and claim to be unable to walk and reliant on a wheelchair, but video evidence shows you playing football.
Here your whole claim may fail on the ground of fundamental dishonesty for exaggerating a significant part of your claim.

Before instructing an injury solicitor you should check if you have a policy of insurance in place, which will fund your legal costs in pursuing your compensation claim.

This insurance is generally known as “legal protection cover”, but different insurers may use different terminology.

A policy which has legal protection cover will typically meet your solicitor’s legal costs (both legal fees and disbursements).

Typically, as long as there is no fundamental dishonesty it can also meet the opposition’s costs (should you lose your claim).

You May Not Be Aware You Have Legal Protection
You may not even be aware that you have legal protection cover.
Legal protection can often be an added extra to many common insurance policies that may seem totally unrelated.
This is why it is important that you check all your insurance policies

Some examples of insurance policies that may include legal protection cover, include:

Motor vehicle insurance

To use a motor vehicle lawfully on a public road in the United Kingdom you must have a valid auto insurance policy, which can have as an optional extra legal protection cover.

This cover will pay the policy holders legal cost in pursuing a claim for road traffic accident compensation.

Legal Protection For Policy Holders
Legal protection should always cover the driver of the vehicle and other policy holders, but may not always cover passengers

Household contents insurance

If you own or rent your home you will normally have some form of household contents insurance. It may seem totally unrelated, but such policies will often have legal protection cover for any type of accident (typically excludes road traffic accidents) for all family members residing in your home.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance will often include protection for the legal cost in pursuing injury in an accident that you have whilst on holiday.

Bank accounts requiring an annual fee

Some banks will give you automatic legal protection cover, travel insurance, etc. when you pay an annual fee for the account. You might not be aware of this, so it is helpful to check the standard terms and conditions.

Union membership

Quite often your union subs will cover access to a union solicitor free of charge. This is very different than receiving help from a union representative who is unlikely to be legally trained.

Speak To The Union Solicitor Direct
We recommend – if you have the cover try to speak to the union solicitor direct. Union reps may mean well – but they do not have teh legal expertise to guide you properly.

Personal accident insurance

When doing certain high risk events, such as martial arts, you will often have personal accident insurance. This may pay your legal fees or even your compensation, but you will need to check the policy wording carefully.

If you are uncertain as to whether you have legal protection cover – telephone your insurer’s helpline to confirm.

no win no fee accident claim
No Win No Fee Accident Claim

If you have legal protection insurance you should:

Tell your insurer of your accident as soon as possible

Your insurance policy will only allow you a short time, such as three months, to do this – so act quickly.

Your insurer will send you a claim form

You should complete and return this form. The policy may require you to use an insurance panel solicitor or you may be able to choose your own solicitor.

Insurers Inhouse Legal Team
Some of the bigger insurers may well have an in-house legal team whom they will expect to use in preference to selecting your own solicitor.

If you are entitled to choose your own solicitor – it is advisable to speak with that solicitor before returning the form.

Contact from an accident solicitor

The insurer’s chosen panel solicitor (or in-house solicitor) will contact you to discuss your claim.

If you have chosen your own solicitor – your insurer will write to that solicitor to seek a written opinion about the strength of your compensation claim.

Commencement of the compensation claims process

Your insurer will confirm authority that your legal costs in making your personal injury claim, subject to:

  1. The insurance panel solicitor (or inhouse solicitor) decides your personal injury claim has sufficient merit.
  2. The insurer accepts your chosen solicitor’s written opinion as to the strength of your claim.
Insurance Policy Excess
Sometimes you will have to pay the first £50 or so – known as your “policy excess“.

You may have a difficulty to establish if you have a claim.

Free initial consultation

A personal injury lawyer may be prepared to have a free discussion with you to decide about your potential compensation claim. This is known as a “free initial consultation”.

The consultation can take place at the accident lawyer’s office, on the telephone or sometimes the lawyer will even come to your home or the hospital.

During the consultation – you can discuss your compensation claim and the cheapest ways to fund it, including:

No win no fee agreements

The technical name for a “no win no fee agreement” is a “conditional fee agreement” or CFA for short.

In this agreement your injury lawyer agrees not to charge you for professional fees should your claim not succeed. However, if your claim succeeds the majority of your solicitor’s legal fees can be recovered in addition to your compensation from party-at-fault (the loser).

The success fee

There is in addition a percentage uplift (increase) known as a “success fee”, which compensates teh solicitor for having taken the risk of running your claim. Whether this sum can be claimed from the other side depends on when your no win no fee agreement was put in place.

Law Change – Recovering Legal Fees / Deduction From Compensation
The law surrounding recovery of fees using a no win no fee agreement changed on the 1st April 2013.
An agreement set up prior to the 1st April 2013 date would result in the losing party paying your solicitor’s fees, including the success fee (in the event you winning your claim).
After this date – the law changed so that the losing party no longer had to pay all legal fees.
Therefore, your solicitor became entitled to deduct up to 25% of your fees (including VAT) for unrecoverable legal costs.
Rules vary across the UK

The rules for no win no fee agreements vary across the UK.

In England and Wales the rules are as described in this section. However, in Scotland the availability and terms of no win no fee agreements can differ than England and Wales.

No win no fee agreements dated prior to the 1st April 2013

Be careful to check with your lawyer that you will not have to pay any “shortfall” in legal costs.

In UK law the loser of a legal claim has to pay the winner’s costs, so long as they are reasonable. A “shortfall” is the difference between the amount of costs the loser pays compared to the amount of costs your accident solicitor has clocked up.

No win no fee agreements post 1st April 2013

Be sure to agree figure for the maximum percentage deduction (based on unrecovered legal fees) that can be made by your solicitor from your compensation in the event of success. This can be any percentage from 0% up to a maximum of 25% and should include VAT.

After The Event Insurance
In addition to the percentage deduction – there may be an additional expense for the cost of an after the event insurance.
We describe this later in this article.

Disbursement funding for no win no fee agreements

Disbursements were described at the beginning of this article as expenses your personal injury lawyer has to pay out on your behalf.

Sometimes, if you have a no win no fee agreement – your accident solicitor is prepared to meet the disbursements until the end of your claim and recover the expense from the loser (should your claim be won).

If your claim is lost you may have to pay these disbursements.

Disbursements funding is a type of insurance policy, which will pay your disbursements if your claim is lost.

The policy you take out after you have had your accident is known as “after the event insurance” or ATE insurance. It can cover the other side’s costs if your claim is unsuccessful and it may also cover some of your own solicitor’s costs.

This insurance can often be purchased on credit.

The ATE expense is no longer recoverable from the other side (in the event if a successful claim).

Exception For Mesothelioma
The ATE insurance premium may still be recoverable in Mesothelioma claims.

No Win No Fee & Solicitor Fees Funding Summary

You have discovered the legal costs you are at risk of paying in making your compensation claim. Examples are provided of the cheapest ways of funding these costs, including no win no fee agreements.

Funding Your Road Accident Claim Next Steps

We recommend you see our article road traffic accident claims process to see all the steps to claiming road traffic accident compensation using a no win no fee legal funding agreement.

Free Legal Help – Online And Telephone

We offer access to our personal injury solicitors for a free direct dial telephone consultation or online claim assessment.