The insurance industry persuaded the Government that successful Claimants should have to pay their own success fees when instructing solicitors on a no win no fee basis, capped at 25% of damages. We on the Claimant side lobbied hard against these proposals, believing that the losing insurers should continue to pay the success fee themselves, but the Government ignored our arguments and the applicable change to the law came into effect from April 1st 2013. What this means in practical terms is that, as your success fee and unrecovered base costs will almost always exceed 25% of damages, then this is the amount that will have to be deducted from recovered damages to go towards your legal fees at the successful conclusion of your case.
General damages for Personal Injury are being increased by 10% to offset the loss to you. You are still able to instruct an experienced Personal Injury specialist litigator from our firm to fight the insurers upon your behalf, and advise you upon the appropriate level of settlement, as well as paying upon your behalf for the disbursements that you will inevitably incur when pursuing your claim, such as Medical report and Court fees.
If you instruct us on a no win no fee agreement then as long as you follow our advice and don’t mislead or misinform us, you don’t have to pay anything towards our own fees if you lose the case at trial. You can be held liable for the other side’s legal fees however, up to a maximum of the level of damages you are awarded (which would leave you with nothing) if you refuse an offer in settlement of your claim, and that offer is the same as or more than the sum ultimately allowed by the judge at court. We strongly recommend that you take out ATE (After The Event) legal expense insurance against this risk, in the event that you don’t already have full legal expense cover. The premiums tend to be reasonable if taken out at the point of instruction and are deferred to the conclusion of your claim, so there’s no payment up front just a deduction from your damages.
If you do not have full legal expenses cover in place already then we would always prefer to act for you on a conditional fee basis. Other firms may offer different funding arrangements but this is our standard approach for all our clients as it allows us to provide you with a consistent high standard of service.