If you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault, it is your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
You probably know that, for the best chance of success, you should look for a reputable solicitor with experience of personal injury claims.
But appointing a solicitor can be daunting, and many people worry about what it’s going to cost them.
Here are some things to watch out for to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to when making a claim.
If you are a member of a trade union, you may get legal cover for personal injury claims as part of your membership package.
Many union members don’t realise that they can access free legal advice and representation, not just for work-related matters, but for injuries sustained outside of work too.
By claiming through your union membership, you won’t have to pay any legal fees and you’ll keep 100% of your compensation.
So, if you’ve been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, your first port of call should always be your trade union.
Some unions even have legal packages that cover your family members, so if your loved one is injured in an accident outside of work they may also be able to get legal cover under your union membership.
Most people have heard of ‘no win, no fee’ claims, as many personal injury solicitors advertise this type of arrangement.
When you enter a no win no fee agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement, you and your solicitor agree that you will only pay legal fees if your claim is successful. The fees will be taken out of your compensation.
This type of arrangement should ensure that you don’t need to make payments upfront and you won’t be left with an expensive bill if you lose your case. However, you should always make sure that your lawyer won’t ask you to pay anything before the end of your case.
ATE insurance, which stands for ‘after the event’ insurance, covers the costs of legal proceedings.
Most solicitors will require you to take out ATE insurance if you make a ‘no win, no fee’ claim, as it will cover their costs if you lose your case.
The solicitor or law firm will usually arrange the insurance for you, and it’s worth checking how much you will be expected to pay. Some law firms won’t require you to pay anything towards your insurance, while others may charge a considerable fee.
By now you already know that if you make a claim on a no win, no fee basis, you only have to pay legal fees if you win.
So if you do win your case, what happens then?
Well, if your personal injury claim is successful, your legal fees will be deducted from your compensation. This is known as a success fee.
While there is a 25% cap on success fees in most personal injury claims, the amount you pay can still vary between law firms. It may be worth selecting a law firm that has a lower cap on their success fees, so you can rest assured that you’ll keep most of your compensation if you win.
The aim is that you keep the maximum amount of compensation.
Some solicitors deduct charges for things like expert medical reports, which are usually required to make a personal injury claim.
On the other hand, there are some solicitors that won’t charge you any extra for these services.
Before you start working with a solicitor, it’s worth asking for a full outline of all fees and charges which could arise during the course of your claim. That way, you’ll know exactly how much you can expect to pay out, and you won’t be left with any nasty surprises.
By choosing a solicitor that is upfront and fair with their pricing, you can ensure that you keep as much of your compensation as possible.
About the author
Thompsons Solicitors is a UK social justice law firm that has been representing the injured and mistreated for over 100 years, never acting for those who have caused injury or their insurers.
They believe that justice should be accessible to everyone, no matter their financial situation. As well as representing trade union members, they can help those who don’t belong to a union make personal injury claims on a no win, no fee basis. Thompsons are transparent about their pricing – they cap success fees for the majority of personal injury cases at 20% of the total compensation, with no hidden costs. You won’t have to pay for ATE insurance or medical reports.
For more information about Thompsons, visit their website here.
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