No win no fee: How will my clinical negligence or personal injury claim be funded?
Many clinical negligence and personal injury claims are funded on a no win no fee basis. Coodes Solicitors’ paralegal Toby Szczur explains how it works.
If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence or an accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. However, you may understandably be concerned about paying for legal advice.
If you instruct a lawyer, you should ask them at the earliest stage about how the claim will be funded. Most personal injury and clinical negligence claims are funded on a no win no fee basis.
How does a no win no fee claim work?
Many law firms, including Coodes, can pursue clinical negligence or personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis. This means that if you win your case, your opponent will pay the majority of your legal costs. It also protects you against paying for legal advice if your claim is then unsuccessful.
Are cases ever rejected for no win no fee?
It is important to understand that no solicitor will offer to take on every case on a no win no fee basis. We need to obtain insurance to cover any expenses we have incurred in the event that the claim is lost. If our After The Event (ATE) insurer takes a view that the claim is unlikely to be successful – perhaps because the defendant has denied liability at an early stage – they will most likely not cover your case. In that instance, we would have to reject a claim.
Some insurance companies are more risk averse than others, but they will always look for a minimum 51% chance of success before agreeing to provide cover.
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Will I have to fund any of the claim myself?
If your claim is successful and you are awarded damages, your defendants will cover the majority of your solicitor’s fees. That is a decision for the courts. If there is a shortfall then technically you are responsible for these costs however how much is decided on a case by case basis.
When your case has concluded, you will also need to pay an After The Event Insurance (ATE Insurance) premium. The cost of this insurance premium is calculated on a sliding scale depending on the amount of damages received and your lawyer should be able to advise you on the amount payable at the outset and as the claim progresses
Personal injury and clinical negligence claims also involve additional costs. These are called disbursements and include expert reports, which could be provided by doctors, for example. In some cases, you may be eligible to take out a ‘disbursement funding loan’. This essentially forms a limited pot of money to cover disbursements as the case progresses. Eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis and your lawyer will advise you if disbursement funding is appropriate for your claim. It is important to understand that this facility is a loan and therefore must be paid back. Your lawyer should keep you informed of any disbursements for your claim.
What about Legal Aid?
Many of our clients ask us if they can get Legal Aid funding for their claim. Unfortunately, this Government funding no longer covers the vast majority of personal injury or medical negligence claims.
Legal Aid is available for very specific and limited types of clinical negligence claims. These are brain injuries sustained at birth. Coodes Solicitors is one of a small number of law firms to hold a Legal Aid contract for these claims. If you think you could qualify for this funding, please speak to us and we can advise you.
If you believe you are entitled to personal injury or clinical negligence compensation, speak to a specialist lawyer in the first instance. When you have discussed your case with them, they can advise you on your options and how your claim could be funded