No Win No Fee
What is a “no win, no fee” agreement and what does it involve?
It is not always the case that seeking compensation in the UK requires initial fees to be paid. So, at the very beginning, the best solution would be to get acquainted with a “no win, no fee” agreement which means that “if you do not win your case, you do not have to pay the fee”. If the services are provided on a “no win, no fee” basis, then the claimant bears no initial costs and there are no costs to pay if the claimant eventually loses his/her case for compensation. Success fee is only charged if the case is successful.
Not all solicitors agree to take cases under a “no win, no fee” agreement, so it is worth verifying it prior to signing any documents. The principles of such agreement are very beneficial to claimants. It is usually so that, as a result of an accident, many accident victims end up with high medical costs, lose their jobs or a considerable part of their livelihoods. They simply cannot afford pay the legal costs themselves. Since it is typically required to pay the fees in advance, this option cannot be chosen by many people who are entitled to compensation.
How did it start?
Until some time ago, if you wanted to benefit from legal representation, you had to be prepared to pay the fees upfront. Only relatively wealthy people could afford to hire their own solicitor. Many claimants found it difficult to fight for their rights in the courtroom which made the consequences of their accidents and illnesses even more severe. This is one of the reasons why the “no win, no fee” agreements were established – so that people who could not afford it in the past could now be provided with professional support without having to fund the case themselves.
Does it work for the solicitor?
It might seem that if a client does not pay for legal services at the beginning, it creates a risky situation for a solicitor. This is not exactly the case. Solicitors who work under the “no win, no fee” basis have been specialising in compensation claims for years. Based on given case details, they can estimate whether this case is likely to be successful. Due to that, they get engaged into low and medium risk cases, even if they are complicated. If, however, they estimate such chances of winning a given case at a very low level, then they will not offer cooperation on the ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Solicitor’s remuneration depends on how much compensation is earned. He/she gets a certain percentage of compensation (this is stipulated in the agreement). However, it may not exceed 25% of this compensation.
Losing, winning – consequences for the aggrieved party
Court fees and costs of medical reports are to be paid by the losing party in the court proceedings. The aggrieved party, on the other hand, pays a “success fee”. This is the solicitor’s remuneration calculated on the grounds of percentage specified in the agreement.
When the case is lost, still there are no worries about costs. The aggrieved party is secured with legal aid protection, that is under the After The Event Insurance (ATE). No financial contribution is to be made provided that the concluded agreement with the solicitor is fully complied with. All documents and evidence related to the fortuitous event must be provided. If any of them is concealed and the truth comes out during long-term court proceedings, it may generate severe and unnecessary costs for a given law firm. Thus, all facts must be disclosed at the very beginning. Then, there will no unexpected costs.
If not the “no win, no fee” agreement, then what?
The “no win, no fee” agreement may be opted by a solicitor who estimates that winning chances are high; however not all cases are simple. If there is any doubt, he/she may refuse. However, it does not mean that the aggrieved party has no way out. In the UK in such cases there are more opportunities to engage a solicitor, but these may involve costs to be incurred from the start. When a person earns low income, free legal assistance or trade union support is another option to be taken for consideration. However, it is not always possible to choose – on one’s own – a law firm which will provide support. Moreover, few people may take advantage of free legal aid if their case refers to medical negligence, injury or health problems. This option is available in exceptional cases only. When having enough money, you can fee a solicitor on your own and no one will question who the aggrieved party gets in touch with.
How is this kind of agreement constructed?
For this agreement to be binding, it is made in writing, with all the particulars and amounts given. Therefore, you should read the document carefully prior to signing it. Estimated costs to be borne by a client are among the most important elements which cannot be omitted. Then the parties determine the result which is to be treated as ‘a win situation’ and how they may terminate their cooperation earlier.
What compensation can you expect?
This is one of the fundamental questions to be asked prior starting your struggle for compensation. If you do not have to pay anything to initiate legal proceedings, is it worth consideration? It all depends on what fortuitous event took place and how much damage the aggrieved party suffered. The important issue is that whether he/she can recover fully, whether he/she can work, has a family to support and many other factors. Even seemingly similar cases lead to completely different results. The winning chances and the amounts involved should be consulted with the solicitor. It is necessary to accurately specify all the circumstances and consequences of this or that incident, and then rely on the solicitor’s professional knowledge. He/she will be able to estimate the probability of winning and the amounts involved.