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What Is The No Win No Fee Compensation Process?

Potential claimants asking “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” probably first heard the term mentioned in an advertisement on television or the radio. No Win No Fee arrangements are the most popular method of pursuing a claim for persons wanting to claim compensation on a budget. They were first offered by solicitors in the mid-1990s after the Government announced that it plans to scale back Legal Aid, making it unavailable to the public for many types of personal injury cases – so unpopular was the move that the changes did not end up being passed into law until 2000.

No Win No Fee arrangements became popular with the public due to the lack of non-selective, affordable legal representation on the market after Legal Aid was scaled back as a way to claim injury compensation; the Government felt that Legal Aid was not being utilised by the people it was meant to help obtain a personal injury settlement and that it had become expensive to maintain, with solicitors only accepting cases that fell within their range of expertise.

We have compiled this guide to No Win No Fee injury compensation in order to answer some of the most common questions put to solicitors. This guide should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. For more in-depth answers to your questions about No Win No Fee compensation you should speak with a solicitor.

What Does the Term No Win No Fee Mean?

“What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” is a question frequently asked to solicitors. A No Win No Fee arrangement is one by which the solicitor and claimant agree that the solicitor will not be paid if the claim is not successful. What is not included as part of the No Win No Fee slogan is that just because a claimant’s attempt to claim injury compensation is not successful doesn’t mean that they will not have to pay any costs – the defendant’s legal fees as well as any extra expenses claimed by the claimant’s solicitor may also have to be paid.

Costs of unsuccessful personal injury settlements can sometimes run into thousands of pounds – disbursements, court fees, medical reports and the defendant’s legal fees can add up to a considerable amount – and may not be as suitable for someone seeking to claim compensation on a budget as it first appears to be.

Can I Obtain Protection Against No Win No Fee Liabilities?

Not all solicitors who operate on a No Win No Fee basis charge clients for disbursements and it is advisable that a potential claimant ask their solicitor for a list of the terms and conditions associated with seeking a personal injury settlement. Some solicitors will offer an “After the Event” insurance package to protect against an unexpected result.

No matter how strong the case of someone seeking to claim injury compensation appears to be there is always a possibility that the judge will find in favour of the defendant. An “After the Event” insurance policy protects the claimant from financial liability if the claim is unsuccessful – in most cases the premium on the package is payable after the case – to accommodate claimants looking to claim compensation on a budget – and in some circumstances the insurance settlement can include the cost of the premium itself.

Recap: What Is The No Win No Fee Compensation Process?

Potential claimants asking the question “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” should understand that just because a claimant is not responsible for their own legal fees does not mean that there will be no costs incurred – the defendant’s legal fees, any expenses claimed by your solicitor and court fees may also have to be paid. A claimant is advised to ask their solicitor for a full list of charges and potential expenses that may be incurred should the claim be unsuccessful. A No Win No Fee arrangement is not necessarily suitable for everyone seeking to claim compensation on a budget.

If the claim for a personal injury settlement is successful the claimant’s legal fees, disbursements and expenses – as well as the premium on the “After the Event” insurance policy is payable by the defendant – unless deemed to be excessive by the judge, in which case the claimant may have to shoulder some of the cost. In most cases however successful claimants will receive 100% of their personal injury settlement.

(1) Claimants in receipt of certain state benefits will be deducted the cost of their benefits deducted from the final award. This amount will be deducted by the defendant or the claimant’s solicitor and sent to the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Department for Work and Pensions.

What is a Success Fee in a Personal Injury Settlement

Claimants asking “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” may have heard about a payment called a success fee. A success fee is a charge claimed by solicitors after a successful case to compensate them for taking a chance on a case from which they were not guaranteed to be paid. When a successful case has been made the fee will be paid by the defendant.

A success fee is usually agreed upon before the case as a percentage of the solicitor’s legal fees. In Northern Ireland, England and Wales the fee is usually between 20 percent and 25 percent – but can be as much as 100 percent. Claimants in Scotland, particularly those seeking to claim compensation on a budget, should note that it is not legal for a solicitor to charge a success fee to take on a case – although a pre-arranged percentage can be agreed upon.

How Does a Claimant Assess their Eligibility for No Win No Fee Representation?

Potential claimants asking “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” should understand that not all claims are eligible to be argued by a solicitor on this basis, and that most solicitors will only accept cases that they believe have a 75 percent or above probability of success. Each claim is first assessed on its merits by a solicitor before being taken up.

Although you should be encouraged if a solicitor agrees to argue your case to claim injury compensation on a No Win No Fee basis as it means they believe a favourable outcome is likely, you should remember that no claim has a 100 percent chance of resulting in a personal injury settlement and that there is always the possibility of a freak result.

Although pursuing a claim on a No Win No Fee basis may seem like a favourable arrangement for persons attempting to claim compensation on a budget, a solicitor will take a number of factors into account before deciding to accept a claim. The extent and severity of an injury, whether a third party was totally responsible for the injury, whether more than one party was responsible and how much compensation is likely to be awarded for your injuries are among the variables a solicitor will take into account before deciding to accept a claimant’s case.

Is There An Alternative Way to Claim Injury Compensation?

If a claimant takes their “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” question to a solicitor and finds out that they do not qualify for representation, it does not mean – even for those trying to claim compensation on a budget – that there is no possibility of pursuing a claim, and the solicitor will be able to advise them on where to look for alternative means of funding.

Legal Aid is still available to claimants for certain types of action: clinical negligence, claims against those in the social services involving the failure to care for an elderly relative and some types of claims for faulty goods compensation still fall under the mandate of the service.

If a claimant does not qualify to claim injury compensation using either Legal Aid or a No Win No Fee solicitor, they may be able to fund a claim via an insurance policy. Unknown to many policyholders some car and home insurance policies come with “Before the Event” legal expenses insurance attached to their policies. If a claimant does decide to fund their claim in this way they should be aware of the possibility of a time limit (usually six months) being one of the terms of the insurance, and that an insurance company will often insist on accepting the first reasonable offer.

Claimants have also been known to use their own money to fund their claim for a personal injury settlement, though this might seem a bit impractical if a No Win No Fee solicitor has already rejected the claim. It is important to note that if a claimant’s case is refused by a No Win No Fee solicitor, an insurance company may refuse to fund it – thus exposing claimant to the defendant’s legal costs as well as their own.

What is the Difference between No Win No Fee Arrangements and CFAs?

Potential claimants asking “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” may stumble across Conditional Fee Agreements during their research. There is no difference between No Win No Fee compensation and a CFA, and the term Conditional Fee Agreement better describes the deal which is being offered to the claimant.

CFAs were first made available as part of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 as a precursor to the removal of Legal Aid for some types of injury claims and to allow those seeking to claim compensation on a budget to continue to do so.

The term No Win No Fee became a popular alternative to Conditional Fee Agreement when solicitors began advertising their services on television and radio after Legal Aid was scaled back. Many of the advertisements have been criticised for misleading media users looking to claim injury compensation however, offering the impression that winning a personal injury settlement and having a cheque sent in the post is as easy as picking up the telephone.

Where Can I Find More Advice on how to Claim Compensation on a Budget?

For more answers to “What is the No Win No Fee compensation process?” and to follow up questions, speak with a solicitor about how to claim injury compensation. A personal injury solicitor will be able to provide helpful and practical advice on pursuing a personal injury settlement on a No Win No Fee basis and allow you to ascertain whether or not you are eligible. As no two claims for compensation are identical it is in the best interest of a claimant to speak to their solicitor in order to confirm their eligibility at the earliest possible opportunity.