no win no fee personal injury claim

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

Find out about the legal costs in making a compensation claim; how no win no fee agreements can allow you to claim without paying legal fees up front; the legal expenses insurance policies you may not realise you already have in place that can fund your solicitor’s fees and other alternative ways of funding your claim.

Your legal costs are made up of two main parts:

1. Your Accident 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”, which you should be notified of in writing at the beginning of your claim.

2. 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.

Yes – if you lose your claim in the United Kingdom then you will have to meet your own disbursements expense.

Don’t worry – read on to find out about insurance policies which will protect you from paying these costs.

Also – if your claim is found to be “fundamentally dishonest” or a significant part of your claim is found to be fundamentally dishonest – you will be responsible for paying the other side’s legal costs.

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

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 not only meet your solicitor’s legal costs, but typically also meet the opposition’s costs should you lose your claim.

You may not even be aware that you have this protection, so it is important that you check all your insurance policies including:

1. 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.

Watch out – it should always cover the driver of the vehicle and other policy holders, but may not always cover passengers.

2. Household contents insurance

If you own or rent your home you will normally have some form of contents insurance, which will often have legal protection cover for any type of accident (except RTA’s) for all family members residing in your home.

3. Travel insurance

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

We recommend – if you have the cover try to speak to the union solicitor direct.

6. 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:

1. 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.

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

3. Contact from an accident solicitor

The insurer’s chosen panel 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.

4. Commencement of the compensation claims process

The panel solicitor decides you have a good compensation claim or the insurer accepts your chosen solicitor’s written opinion as to the strength of your case – your insurer will confirm authority that your legal costs in making a claim will be met

Sometimes you will have to pay the first £50 or so – known as your “policy excess“.

A UK personal injury lawyer will often 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:

1. 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 his professional fees if he loses your case. If he wins your claim – he will charge his costs to the party at fault (the loser) with a percentage increase known as a “success fee”.

Watch out – 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, so your solicitor became entitled to deduct up to 25% of your fees (including VAT) for unrecoverable legal costs.

The rules for no win no fee agreements vary across the UK. In England and Wales the rules are as described in this section, but 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 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.

Watch out – there may be an additional expense for the cost of an after the event insurance.

2. Disbursement funding for no win no fee agreements

Disbursements were described at the beginning of this page 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 if your claim is 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 cost of this insurance policy can normally be claimed from the person responsible for your accident if your claim is successful and can often be purchased on credit.

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.

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 as well as 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.

Use Our Online And Telephone Free Legal Help

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