If you are thinking about making a claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault, you will have heard the term ‘no win, no fee’ plenty of times before. But what does ‘no win, no fee’ really mean, and is it the way you should go when making a personal injury claim?
The history of ‘no win, no fee’
The no win, no fee system was introduced in 1990 by the Courts and Legal Services Act. It was formally implemented in courts in England and Wales in 1995, and in 1998, it was extended to include all civil cases in the United Kingdom. It is the most common type of agreement with law firms like UK Claim Lawyers (enter site to find out more).
So, what is ‘no win, no fee’?
The concept of no win, no fee has been in the making for hundreds of years, and that concept is really rather simple – claimants only have to pay their solicitor’s fees if their case wins. If their case loses, then they have no fees to pay. It’s as simple as that.
Or so it seems, anyway. The risk with no win, no fee is if your claim loses, for while a no win, no fee agreement stipulates that the claimant doesn’t have to pay their own solicitor’s fees, it offers no protection with regard to the defendant’s fees. For example, if you make a claim against an insurance company and your claim loses, the insurance company’s legal fees can and in all likelihood will be billed to you. These can be hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Limiting the risk
To limit the risks associated with losing a no win, no fee claim, you can take out ‘After the Event’ (ATE) insurance. Such insurance is compulsory under most no win, no fee agreements because a client’s solicitor wants their client to have the best protection. Such insurance is actually a good deal, because you will only have to pay a premium if your case is successful and the premiums are not usually high. They are usually around £100. You do not have to usually have to pay the premium if your claim loses.
If your claim is a success, then your solicitor will usually take their fees from your compensation. This is common practice. Alternatively, your solicitor may recover their fees from the other side, in which case you will get to keep 100% of your compensation. If your solicitor takes their fees from your compensation, it’s important to keep in mind that under current legislation, this can be up to 25% of the compensation value. However, your lawyer’s fees will (or should) be clearly explained to you before you make an accident claim.