It was in 1998 that the concept of ‘no win, no fee’ first entered the English lexicon, with this type of legal representation coinciding with the unveiling of the 1999 Access to Justice Act.
The latter came into force in April 2000, and it dramatically increased the appeal of a no-win, no-fee deals as judges could compel the losing side to shoulder any associated costs and conditional fees.
Despite this, some people remain unclear about how no-win, no-fee cases work, or how they may benefit from this type of representation. We’ll explain this below whilst considering its benefits and disadvantages.
What Do We Mean by No-Win, No-Fee?
If you suffer an accident whilst at work or out and about, you’re entitled to file an accident claim and pursue compensation.
However, this legal right was historically complicated by the high cost of seeking legal representation, and this is where the concept of no-win, no-fee first came into play.
In simple terms, this means that you’re not liable to pay your solicitors fees or any other associated costs in the event that your legal claim is unsuccessful. By entering into such an arrangement, your solicitor is taking a calculated risk on your case, as whilst they’ll receive no fee at all if they lose you’ll pay a significant ‘success’ fee if the claim is successful.
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of No-Win, No-Fee Cases?
This is where you’ll need to consider your options before hiring a no-win, no-fee solicitor, as the success fee is usually determined as a percentage of the compensation awarded.
This is stipulated as part of a legally binding written agreement, and in the event of larger settlements the success fee could be larger than the amount that would have been payable simply by hiring a solicitor in the traditional manner.
Solicitors have been able to set the percentage of the damages that they recover as their success fees since April 2013, and it always makes sense to discuss the precise terms of service with your representative before signing any agreement.
The Last Word – What Else Do You Need to Know?
As a general rule, the typical success fee is 25% of the damages recovered, so it’s important to seek out estimates regarding the compensation you may receive if your claim is successful.
Whilst a no-win, no-fee agreement also prevents you from paying your solicitors fees in the event of a loss, you should not that some providers may ask you to cover the court costs or any expert’s charges.
If these are included, you’ll have to pay these if the claim is unsuccessful, so be sure to read through the small print on any agreement before proceeding.
In terms of eligibility, most personal injury claims have a time limit of three years or less. So, you’ll need to seek legal advice and process your claim within this time frame, as you’ll have no legal recourse beyond this point.