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The Ultimate Guide To No Win No Fee Claims

If you have been involved in an accident, which resulted in an injury, you will be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Although many people wish to make a claim, they are very often put off by the high legal fees involved in pursuing a personal injury claim or simply cannot afford them. The possibility of entering into a legal process on the basis of ‘no win no fee’ claims, addresses the issue of affordability and allows individuals to have access to justice.

3 Personal Injury Car Crash

 What does ‘no win no fee’ claim actually mean?

If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be liable for any fees or outlays. That being said however, your ‘no win no fee’ agreement will specify that if you lawyer secures a compensation for you, legal fees will be recovered directly from the said compensation you were awarded for your injuries. The most common practice is for your lawyer to keep a percentage of the compensation they have secured for you.

Under the new Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) Scotland Act 2018, there are recommendations in terms of what percentage of your compensation your lawyer should take for the legal fees. This is of course to ensure that claimants are provided with both clarity and transparency and that the fees are both reasonable and not excessive.

The caps for solicitor fees indicate that fees should depend on the damages awarded and are as follows:

  • up to 20% for the first £100,000
  • up to 10% for the next £400,000
  • up to 2.5% of damages over £500,000

The new legislation therefore ensures that all individuals are provided with certainty and security during their process of claiming for personal injury. It also affords fairness for the claimants and ensures that everyone has the ability to access the legal system when necessary.

Will I be liable for defender’s expenses if my claim is unsuccessful?

For many years, claimants were forced to settle their claims during the negotiation stages in order to avoid having to enter into court proceedings. This was due to the fact that they could not afford the high costs involved in litigation and they could not afford to take the risk of paying the defender’s costs should the expenses be awarded against them. With such high risks in mind, they would be forced to take a substantially smaller sum for their injuries during the negotiation stages.

However, now with the new legislation in place, claimants are protected and therefore do not have to take such high risks. The new Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) Scotland Act 2018 introduced qualified one-way cost shifting. This therefore means that claimants will not be responsible for paying defender’s damages even if their claim is unsuccessful. Such approach will ensure higher settlement offers during the negotiation stages failing which claimants will be in a better position to enter into court proceedings. Thus allowing individuals to secure better and higher compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

What is involved in the claim process?

Speaking to a personal injury lawyer will give you an idea of whether you have a valid claim. The legal team will generally discuss your case with you in great depth in order to develop a good understanding of what has actually happened and what injuries you have sustained. Such discussion will also allow your lawyer to establish how the injury has impacted your lifestyle and whether you have incurred any loss of earnings or additional costs as a result of it.

Having carefully considered your case, you solicitor will then be in a position to estimate how much compensation you should roughly receive.

Before contacting the third party to present your position to put in a claim, you lawyer will discuss the basis for your claim with you and ensure you are happy with this before proceeding. Once contact has been made with the third party, they will either accept liability for the injury or deny it.

If the third party admits that you have suffered a personal injury as a result of their negligence, your lawyer will negotiate with them in order to obtain the best compensation for you. If you have also incurred expenses as a result of the accident, you lawyer will be negotiating to claim those back for you too.  It is important to note that your lawyer will advise you whether the proposed compensation is sufficient or whether it might be worthwhile entering into court proceedings.

If on the other hand the third party refuses to accept responsibility for the injuries, your lawyer will begin court proceedings during which they will try to establish that you have sustained personal injuries through the fault of the third party negligence and thus you should be entitled to compensation.

How long will it take?

Many people are often put off by the thought of how long their claim will take. The length of time is very much determined on individual circumstances surrounding your case.

Whilst some claims can be settled in less than a year, others can take up to a number of years. Factors such as disputes over the determination of liability, circumstances surrounding the accident, analysis of the evidence of the accident and the extent of the injuries sustained, all contribute towards the length of time.

It is best to be patient throughout the process to allow your lawyer to work towards obtaining the best compensation for you. Your lawyer will communicate with you to update you about the progress of your claim accordingly.

After your initial meeting with your lawyer and careful analysis of the evidence they obtain, they should be in a position to provide you with a rough estimate of how long a personal injury claim can take.

How much compensation will I be entitled to?

Compensation is determined on the level of injuries sustained and the losses you have incurred as a result of them. Your lawyer will normally negotiate with the third party, working towards securing the best outcome for you.

There are normally four categories under which compensation for personal injury is awarded and they are as follows:

  1. Claimants receive compensation for nature of the injuries as well as the extent of the pain inflicted upon them as a result of the accident. This is more known as solatium.
  2. Claimants can also claim compensation for the loss of income if they have not been able to work as a result of the injuries sustained.
  3. Compensation is provided if a claimant has had to rely on the assistance from friends and family to complete any housework or other responsibilities on their behalf.
  4. Compensation is provided for any other financial losses incurred as a result of an accident such as purchase of necessary equipment or even modification of the household either temporary or permanent.

Through a careful analysis of all categories and factors, your lawyer will be in a position to estimate how much compensation and expenses should be awarded to you. It is important to remember that all claims are different and therefore your lawyer will only be able to provide a rough estimate of potential compensation.

How will I receive my compensation?

Compensation can either be made in one and final payment or it can be through the means of interim payments.

Although the former is more popular, it is possible to obtain interim payments if two factors are satisfied. Firstly, court proceedings must have already begun and secondly it must be very clear that the claim is very likely to be successful. Normally the third party and this is usually the insurance company will need to agree to this. It is important to remember that interim payments are only available when the chances of success are very high.

Having analysed your individual case, your personal injury lawyer will be in a position to discuss with you how you will receive your compensation.

If you have suffered from personal injury, you will normally have three years to make a claim, but it is always best to start acting promptly. At Jones Whyte, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers will provide you with professional and efficient service, ensuring that we work tirelessly to obtain the best compensation for you.

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