If you are considering making a claim for compensation after a personal injury, you will certainly have seen most solicitors and claims advisors offering their services on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. “No Win, No Fee” services are also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. Although these offers look very tempting, it is important that you understand how they work before you decide to take advantage of them.

Why use a “No Win, No Fee” service?

No Win, No Fee services are designed to encourage people to consider litigation following on from an accident. Previously, people were excluded from litigation if they weren’t confident that they would be able to afford the necessary legal fees. This meant that some people vulnerable people were not able to get access to justice after an accident that left them with a reduced quality of life. However, No Win, No Fee services allow people to access legal advice, even if they are not able to make direct payments upfront.

Most No Win, No Fee solicitors and claims advisors will offer free consultation sessions to people in the first instance, so that potential clients are able to find out whether or not they could have a valid case. The success fees which lawyers earn when they win actually make up a huge part of their individual earnings, so lawyers who work on a No Win, No Fee have an extra incentive to work hard to make sure that their claims are always successful.

Is it really No Win, No Fee?

In a “No Win, No Fee” agreement, “no fee” refers to the legal fees which must be paid to the lawyer or the claims advisor that the agreement is with. If your case is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal fees to that person. However, that does not mean that there will be no costs involved with taking the case forwards. You may need to pay for other costs that relate to your claim, including fees to access information and the fees required to hire expert witnesses. Your lawyer may need you to pay some of these fees upfront. If you are successful in your claim, then these fees should be covered by the opposing party as part of the compensation value. However, if you lose the case, you will have to cover all of these fees yourself. You may also need to pay any legal fees that were incurred by the defendant in the case.

In some cases, it is possible to take out insurance to help to protect you if you are required to cover the opposing party’s legal fees. If you decide that you wish to proceed with a “No Win, No Fee” case, you are strongly advised to talk to your solicitor or claims advisor to see if they can recommend any insurance against these fees.

What will the solicitor or claims advisor get if we win?

Your solicitor or claims advisor will take a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. They may also reclaim some additional fees from the defendant. Regulation in the United Kingdom caps the success fee at a maximum of 25%. The percentage which the lawyer or solicitor intends to reclaim as their success fee should be clearly set out in the initial Conditional Fee Agreement. It is worth remembering that the fee may only amount to a few hundred pounds in a claim with a small value, however high value claims can secure lawyers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Which lawyers offer No Win, No Fee arrangements?

Any lawyer or claims advisor can offer this type of arrangement; however they are most common amongst larger law firms or claims firms. This is because these firms can afford to handle the costs of a few losses per year. These big firms will have a lot of experience of dealing with all kinds of personal injury claims, so it is likely that they will know of precedent in similar areas. This level of background knowledge can help claimants to feel more confident about sharing their stories.   If you have been injured in an accident, you may wish to speak to a “No Win, No Fee” professional to begin your case.