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In the context of medical negligence claims, a concept known as ‘no win, no fee’ has gained popularity in recent years. It offers individuals a risk-free option to pursue justice without the burden of upfront costs.
‘No win, no fee’, also referred to as a ‘conditional fee arrangement (CFA)’, is a legal agreement between a claimant and their clinical negligence solicitor. Under this arrangement, the solicitor agrees to provide legal services without charging any fees unless the claim is successful. If the claim is successful, the solicitor’s fees, along with other costs, are typically recovered from the losing party.
No win, no fee arrangements for clinical negligence and personal injury cases were introduced in the UK in 1998 as part of legal reforms to enhance access to justice.
The objective was to ensure that individuals with valid claims could pursue them without being deterred by the financial risks associated with traditional litigation. This system allowed claimants to seek compensation without the need to pay substantial upfront legal fees.
Prior to 1 April 2013, most CFAs contained a provision for payment of a success fee as the winning party would be able to recover the success fee as part of the costs recoverable from the losing party. Additionally, the cost of an after-the-event (ATE) insurance premium was recoverable from the losing party.
Reforms implemented on 1 April 2013 subsequently removed the winning party’s right to recover the success fee and (ATE) insurance premiums from the losing party.
While the term ‘no win, no fee’ implies that there are no upfront or hidden fees, it is crucial to understand the terms and conditions of the agreement before proceeding.
Most medical negligence solicitors often include additional charges in the event of success, such as a success fee. This fee is in addition to the basic costs, however, it will never be more than 25% of the damages awarded.
Additionally, ATE insurance is also often required to cover the risk of having to pay any opponent’s costs, as well as own disbursements (expenses, such as medical experts’ fees) if the case is lost. However, these fees should be made clear and agreed upon in advance.
It is always advisable to discuss the fee structure and any potential hidden charges with your clinical negligence solicitor to ensure transparency.
When a no win, no fee claim is successful, the claimant is awarded compensation for their losses or injuries. The losing party typically pays the solicitor’s fees. However, it is the Claimant’s responsibility to pay the success fee and the ATE insurance premium
It is important to note that the success fee is charged in addition to the basic costs. The success fee will never be charged more than 25% of the damages awarded, and it cannot be deducted from any compensation awarded for any future losses (including earnings, care, equipment costs, etc)
In the event that a no win, no fee compensation claim is unsuccessful, the claimant is generally not liable to pay their medical negligence solicitor’s fees or insurance premium.
This provides protection for those who may be reluctant to pursue a claim due to the fear of incurring substantial legal costs.
However, there may be exceptions to this rule, such as situations where the claimant deliberately misled the medical negligence solicitor, has been fundamentally dishonest or failed to cooperate fully.
To start a no win, no fee compensation claim, the first step is to find a reputable clinical negligence solicitor or law firm that specialises in the relevant area of law.
It is crucial to choose an experienced clinical negligence solicitor who can assess the merits of your claim and provide expert guidance throughout the process.
Once you have chosen a solicitor, they will evaluate your case and determine if it has a reasonable chance of success. If they believe your claim has merit, they will guide you through the necessary steps to initiate legal proceedings.
Medical negligence claims against the NHS can also be made on a no win no fee agreement. If you have experience negligence at the hands of medical professionals within an NHS institution, then you could make a claim on a no win no fee basis. It is first important to know if you are able to sue the NHS.
Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors acted for Mr L in a medical negligence claim in the High Court after he was misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis meant he went on to suffer a serious stroke-causing life-limiting disability.
Blackwater Law is one of the UK’s leading law firms, offering no win, no fee services for various clinical negligence compensation claims.
They have a team of dedicated solicitors who specialise in personal injury, medical negligence, and other areas of law.
With their expertise and experience, Blackwater Law aims to provide access to justice for individuals who have suffered losses or injuries due to the negligence of others.
They ensure that claimants can pursue their cases without financial barriers by offering no win, no fee agreements. Once you enter a CFA with Blackwater Law, we can start to work on your case with no upfront costs.
If you’re unsure about making a no win, no fee medical negligence compensation claim, contact Blackwater Law for free initial legal advice and support, with no obligation to proceed if you are not comfortable.