Just about everyone who has ever thought about making a claim for damages for injuries and losses as a result of an accident will have heard the phrase “No Win No Fee”. In fact if you watch the advertisements on TV you will see this repeated several time an hour!
Whenever I meet a new client however, this form of “funding” a claim still carries a certain amount of mystery to it and the question I am often asked is “Is it REALLY No Win No Fee? Is there a catch to this?”
The simple answer to this is that the work we do really IS No Win No Fee and there is NO catch! It used to be the case that claims for compensation for injuries could be pursued by using Legal Aid (subject to financial quailification). That kind of support has long since disappeared for the vast majority of cases and in its’ wake came the No Win No Fee system. This recognises that in order to have access to justice injured people need a system whereby they can bring a claim and be safe in the knowledge that they are not going to face a large solicitors bill for work done on their behalf. This assurance on costs is at the very heart of the No Win No Fee system.
When a solicitor first discusses a new claim he/she assesses the prospects of that case succeeding. Some cases are easy to assess whilst others are not. You may have come across the term “Success Fee”. This is a percentage that a solicitor adds to the No Win No Fee agreement to reflect the degree of risk being taken in running a case. In short, a solicitor will get paid a little better on the successful cases to effectively “absorb” the loss on cases that are unsuccesful. It works – it allows injured people who could not afford to use a solicitor the chance to still make a claim without having to worry about how they will pay for it.
There are moves afoot at the moment to change this system and as and when those changes take effect I will let you know how they will affect you but for now the No Win No Fee system is alive and kicking!
You should be aware that No Win No Fee agreements are not universally applied in the same way. If you have had an accident and are thinking of bringing a claim for your injuries and losses then first make sure exactly what you are agreeing to. Some firms do not charge anything if you are unsuccesful but then charge you a fee (or take a percentage of your damages) if you win. Also check if you are expected to pay any fees for medical reports, notes etc. And ask how you will be protected against having to pay the OTHER SIDE’S costs if you lose. In summary you need to ask all the right questions to make sure that you really understand how your case is being funded. If in doubt ASK. A good firm will be happy to address and deal with any concerns you have and confirm to you in writing to give you the reassurance you need.
At Ibbotson Brady we have been dealing with cases on a No Win No Fee basis for 0ver 12 years. This is how the vast majority of our cases are funded. If you have any questions give me a call and I will happily go through it with you.