No Win-No Fee agreements in Personal Injury Claims
In the UK, a Conditional Fee Agreement describes the agreement made between a law firm and their clients where the law firm acts on behalf of the client and is only paid if the outcome of the claim is successful. Some people also describe this agreement as a No Win-No Fee Agreement or a No Fee-No Win Agreement.
The No Win-No Fee Agreement is particularly helpful to people who have been injured or been involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault. They may not have the financial resources to hire a solicitor themselves, but the No Win-No Fee Agreement will allow them to pursue their case legally.
In a no win-no fee personal injury case, as a solicitor I pursue all claims on the understanding that if the case is unsuccessful then the client will not have to pay any of their legal costs.
What happens if the client wins the case?
An award of damages will be made by the losing party. This is often referred to as compensation. The award may happen after a court case, but most of the time the case is settled before the case reaches the court.
The client will be paid damages by the losing party. This amount will depend on the extent of their injuries and how it has affected their life. For example, are they seriously disabled or have they suffered a loss of earnings? As a general rule, the greater the extent of the injury, the larger the award of compensation.
Will the client be able recover costs if the case is successful?
The general rule is that I will have most of my legal costs paid by the losing party. I am entitled to claim two types of fee: my standard fee (known as basic costs) as well as what’s called a success fee. The success fee is to reward me for taking on the case on a no win-no fee basis as there is, of course, a chance that the case could be unsuccessful meaning that I will receive no fee at all.
The law changed for No Win-No Fee Agreements entered into after 1st April 2013. The basic costs are the time spent on the case multiplied by my hourly rate. This is paid by the losing party. The success fee is a percentage of the basis costs (typically 12½-25%) and is deducted from the compensation up to a maximum of 25% of the compensation (inclusive of VAT).
However, personal injury awards have been increased by 10% for claims where the No Win-No Fee Agreement was entered into after 1st April 2013. Accordingly, the client will lose some money but gain some too.
What happens if the client loses the case?
The losing client will not have to pay anything. There may be a liability to pay the expenses of the claim (known as disbursements) and, in unusual cases, the other party’s costs. However, these liabilities can be covered by After the Event insurance which I will be happy to arrange on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are looking for a No Win-No Fee solicitor to seek compensation for you, then please get in touch with me at Goodge Law. We are a London firm of personal injury solicitors and will be happy to discuss your case wherever you may be in the country.
To find out more about No Win-No Fee agreements please visit the Law Society website.