When you make a claim for any personal injury, your solicitor will take your claim on under a ‘conditional fee agreement’, otherwise known as a ‘no win, no fee agreement’. Under such an agreement, you will not have any legal fees to pay upfront nor during your claim. This means that you can get access to legal representation to no cost to yourself.
For claims relating to an accident in a car, ‘no win, no fee’ is the default agreement used in the United Kingdom. In addition to this, your lawyer only gets paid if they win your case.
How accident lawyers get paid
So, if you do not have any legal fees to pay, how does your lawyer get paid?
The answer is simple: Your lawyer will either recover their costs from the other side, or they will take a percentage of your compensation as payment.
By law, that percentage can be no more than 25 per cent of the total compensation awarded, and most lawyers take around 20 per cent, although some take less.
Ideally, you will get to keep 100 per cent of your compensation, but this is only possible where a lawyer can recover their costs from the other side. This can happen in smaller personal injury claims, although it usually happens in cases that go to court, since a ruling will likely set out such terms to the other side.
So, what happens if my claim loses?
In the unlikely event that your car accident claim loses, your conditional fee agreement protects you from having to pay any of your own lawyer’s fees.
This means that your lawyer will not get paid for their time. However, you may still rack up a bill of costs from the other side, since your agreement is only between you and your solicitor. For this reason, an insurance policy will be provided with your agreement. This will protect you from incurring costs. That insurance is called ‘after the event’ insurance.
How can I find a reliable lawyer for my claim?
The best lawyers always work for larger, national law firms, since these established law firms have access to the widest pools of talent. We recommend starting your search with a law firm like Accident Advice Helpline, or a law firm that has been operating for 10 or 15 years with an excellent track record. You should contact each law firm on the phone or in person and speak with a lawyer who specialises in your kind of accidents. This will allow you to assess the suitability of each lawyer, and choose the best lawyer for the job.