Many things need to be considered when you’re looking to pursue a claim for personal injury and it can all be a lot to take in, especially in the immediate aftermath of an accident.
One of the many questions we have been asked over the past 30 years is what is meant by ‘no win no fee’ and what a ‘no win no fee’ agreement is. This article will explain the ‘no win no fee’ agreement, which was introduced to enable access to justice.
What costs are incurred in the running of a claim?
Solicitors fees and disbursements are the main costs you will incur when making a claim for personal injury. Disbursements are expenses which a solicitor has to pay on behalf of a client, such as the cost of obtaining a medical report. Here are examples of some of the costs of running a claim:
- Your solicitor’s fees are charges for the hard work we put into your claim to maximise the damages you are entitled to and in getting the right result for you. Smith Jones go a step further in guaranteeing a cap on the level of legal costs (including VAT) payable by you.[i]
- Medical reports typically cost between £180 and £500 each. If your injuries are taking a long time to heal, or you have suffered a serious injury, then multiple reports may be required from a variety of specialists.
- Medical records can cost £50 per request. If you have attended two hospitals and your GP surgery, then you will have to pay this amount per request.
- Court Fees need paying in the event that your case proceeds to litigation.
These expenses will need to be paid back at the end of your claim, whether it is successful or not. Below are the measures we put in place to reduce the financial risk to you when pursuing a claim.
No Win No Fee Agreement
Most solicitors who practice personal injury will offer their services on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. The idea is simple:
- If your claim is successful – you pay legal costs (above those covered by the Defendant); but
- If your claim is unsuccessful – you will not have to pay any legal costs.
In conducting claims on a no win no fee basis, most personal injury solicitors will use a No Win No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA.
The CFA outlines the commitment to pursuing claims on a no win no fee basis. Under this type of agreement, legal costs will only be payable if your claim is successful. Smith Jones go a step further and guarantee a cap on the legal costs (including VAT) payable by you, ensuring that you will receive a minimum share of the damages.i
If your claim is unsuccessful however, you won’t have to pay any of your legal costs.
Smith Jones operate on a no win no fee basis, which we believe demonstrates our commitment to getting the best result possible for our clients. We are in this together: You win, we win.
What is After the Event insurance?
To ensure your claim is totally no win no fee, a separate agreement is also put into place to protect the disbursements incurred in the running of a claim. Usually, this is in the form of After the Event (ATE) insurance.
In the event that your claim is unsuccessful, ATE insurance will cover the cost of any legal disbursements that are taken out, such as medical records and reports, police reports or land registry fees.
Much like the CFA, most ATE premiums operate on a no win no fee basis:
- If your claim is successful – you pay the ATE insurance premium from your damages; but
- If your claim is unsuccessful – you will not have to pay the ATE insurance premium.
It is not mandatory to take out After the Event insurance, but it is usually the recommended option, as it allows you to pursue your claim strictly on a no win no fee basis. Smith Jones will always explain the funding options that are available and will offer you the option to take out ATE insurance.
There are a lot of costs involved when looking to pursue a claim for personal injury. In the aftermath of an accident, money may be the last thing on your mind and so the talk of all these costs may cause you stress at an already turbulent time. After helping clients for the past 30 years, Smith Jones have the knowledge and experience to relieve financial strain wherever possible following an accident. Our CFA combined with ATE insurance is one of the ways in which we keep costs to a minimum and help to protect you while pursuing a claim.
[i] The Smith Jones Guarantee Cap: Without diminishing your overall indemnity to us in costs, unless you fail to keep to Your Responsibilities or the work we do for you goes beyond the scope of this agreement or you take out an ATE insurance policy or any third-party funding, WE GUARANTEE that if you Win then, you will receive a minimum of 75% (road traffic accident/accident at work) or TWO THIRDS (slips, trips and falls/occupiers accidents) of your overall damages.