No Win No Fee Injury Claim
To fully understand what a “no win, no fee” injury claim may actually mean to you, it is worthwhile to look at what is included and excluded from a “no win, no fee” agreement and the process of making a “no win, no fee” injury claim.
When you sign up for no win-no fee injury claim agreement, it is on the understanding that you will only pay your solicitor’s fees when you win your case. When you win, you will be entitled to receive compensation for losses caused by your injury, the resulting pain and suffering and the impact your injury has made to your quality of life. Your solicitor claims reimbursement for the procedural costs of making a no win, no fee injury claim from the negligent party.
But in the unfortunate event that you lose your no win, no fee injury claim, you will be responsible for the defending party’s legal costs, as well as any costs your solicitor may have had to make on your behalf throughout the process of proceeding with a no win, no fee injury claim. (These could be for the expense of filing a claim in court, for example, or to request a medical record — procedural costs that are called disbursements.) To protect your interests against this possibility, your solicitor is likely to recommend you to take out a special type of insurance if you are not presently covered for legal costs by an existing car or household insurance policy.
In the majority of cases, the insurance recommended to you will be ‘after the event’ insurance, which is typically taken out when you first instruct a solicitor to pursue a no win, no fee injury claim on your behalf. While you may be responsible for the premiums of taking out this insurance, it can be purchased on credit and is also retrievable from the other party if you win your no win, no fee injury claim.
Compensation for a No Win, No Fee Injury Claim
Compensation for ‘no win, no fee injury claim’ is awarded on the basis of pain and suffering caused by the injury, any financial losses you may have experiencedas well as the degree of negligence attributed to the responsible party.
The main type of compensation you are eligible to receive when you make a no win, no fee injury claim is ‘general damages’, which is awarded for pain and suffering, ‘loss of enjoyment of life’, as well as other considerations relating to decline of quality of life. In the majority of cases, you will also be able to pursue ‘special damages’ for current loss of earnings, as well as your projected losses in the future. Special damages also cover other financial losses associated with your injury, which ranges from rehabilitation costs and prescription drugs, to travel costs and the costs of replacing damaged or ruined personal property.
How much compensation you are entitled to receive will depend on your individual circumstances, so it is highly advisable to speak to a specialised personal injury solicitor who can clearly advise you as to how best to proceed with a no win, no fee injury claim in England and Wales. The solicitors on our Injury Claims Service are all experienced personal injury specialists who are committed to giving you impartial advice relevant to your situation, and fully assisting you throughout the process of making a no win, no fee injury claim – should you wish to proceed with one after establishing that it is the most suitable process for your individual circumstances.
A Solicitor’s ‘Success Fee’ for a No Win, No Fee Injury Claim
When you win your no win, no win injury claim, your solicitor may charge a ‘success fee’ which is a percentage amount on top of the solicitor’s base fee. While your solicitor may recover all of their costs from the losing party, which includes this success fee, you may want to ask about any possible ‘shortfall’ in costs — this is to take into consideration that the losing party is only liable for up to an amount that is considered reasonable by the courts. If a solicitor’s fees are deemed excessively high, you (the client) may be liable to pay the difference out of your compensation settlement.
The Process of Making a No Win, No Fee Injury Claim
A no win, no fee injury claim officially begins when your solicitor submits a claim letter to the defendant’s insurance policy provider, outlining the particulars of your injury as well as the compensation you are pursuing. The defendant (the insurance policy provider of the party at fault) then has three months to reply to this notice, stating whether or not they accept liability for the sustained injury. At this point, an offer to settle may be made; this is known as a ‘Part 36’ offer. After consulting with you, your solicitor will examine whether the amount offered is an acceptable amount of compensation.
In England and Wales, the majority of no win, no fee injury claims are settled out of court. However, there are cases where the claimant (the person making the no win no fee injury claim) and the defendant do not come to an agreement, either because the amount offered as settlement is unacceptable to the claimant, or the defendant does not accept liability. In this event, your no win, no fee injury claim will be filed with the court, and you will be given a timetable for scheduled court appearances.
No Win, No Fee Injury Claims and the Statute of Limitations
You should also be aware that there is a time limit for making a no win, no fee injury claim in England and Wales. The Statute of Limitations states that claims have to be settled or entered into court within 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’ of the injury for which you are not to blame.
In addition, medical evidence proves crucial in an injury claim, so you will need a medical examination to attest to the severity of your injury, and present medical records tracking the recovery process. Because of this, it is vitally important to seek prompt medical attention immediately or soon after an accident or injury took place.
No Win, No Fee Injury Claims and Third Party Capture
When you have been injured in a circumstance where another party is clearly at fault, you may be approached by an insurance company on behalf of the negligent party with an early offer to settle. This is known as ‘third party capture’, and is usually a way for the insurance company representing the negligent party to cut costs by settling at a lower amount than it would otherwise pay if the claim was resolved in court. Unsurprisingly, such offers to settle frequently do not correspond with the severity of the sustained injury, and although it may be tempting to accept the offer in difficult economic times, it is important to remember that the insurance company is acting in its best interests, and that you are likely to receive much more if you proceed with a no win, no fee injury claim with the assistance of a solicitor.
However, being approached by an insurance company indicates that they are open to negotiation, so you may well be able to make a suitable agreement with them after your medical records have been examined, and your case is presented in the strongest way possible by someone who is watching out for your interests.
Find Out if a No Win, No Fee Injury Claim is Right For You
Since each no win no fee injury claim is unique, it is essential to seek personalised advice for your particular set of circumstances. Please either call our free advice service — or fill out the request form — to have an experienced solicitor return your call. Our personal injury solicitors offer the highest standard of care to their clients and are happy to handle your no win, no fee injury claim from start to finish.