No Win, No Fee - Your questions answeredUpdated: March 27, 2020
As Legal Aid is no longer available for work injury claims, No Win, No Fee is now the most common way to finance a work injury claim. In this article, we explain how No Win, No Fee works and what you need to be aware of.
How does No Win, No Fee work?
If you have been injured at work, the most common way to finance a compensation claim is with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Conditional Fee Agreements are more commonly referred to as No Win, No Fee. The CFA is essentially the terms and conditions under which your solicitor will act for you.
No Win, No Fee enables you to pursue a compensation claim without any financial risk. A key component of any No Win, No Fee agreement is Legal Expenses Insurance - sometimes called 'After the Event' insurance (ATE). Legal Expenses Insurance pays any legal costs, expenses and fees for your claim if your claim is not successful.
Your solicitor will arrange Legal Expenses Insurance on your behalf at the start of your No Win, No Fee claim.
With a No Win, No fee claim, you will have the peace of mind that you will never be out of pocket.
What do I pay if I lose my claim?
If your claim is not successful you will not have to pay any legal fees, costs or expenses.
The defendant's legal fees, costs and expenses would be paid by the Legal Expenses Insurance policy taken out at the start of your No Win, No Fee claim.
If you lose your claim, you won't even have to pay for Legal Expenses Insurance, as these policies are 'self-insuring'. Self-insuring means that the cost of the policy would be deducted from your compensation only if you win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my claim?
If your case is successful, your solicitor would typically make the following deductions from your compensation award or settlement:
- A ‘success fee' (capped at a maximum of 25% of your award)
- The defendant will usually be required to contribute to your legal fees, costs and expenses. If there is any shortfall in this contribution, this shortfall can also be deducted from your compensation.
- The cost of the premium for the Legal Expenses Insurance policy taken out at the start of the claim.
The above deductions are typical of any No Win, No Fee agreement, regardless of which solicitor firm you choose to represent you.
Is there any way I could be out of pocket?
No. The key to any No Win, No Fee agreement is the accompanying Legal Expenses Insurance. If you lose your claim, all of the legal costs, expenses and fees that the defendant could otherwise pursue you for are paid by this policy.
The cost of the policy is only paid by way of a deduction from your compensation award or settlement if you win your claim.
You are, therefore, never out of pocket.
Do I qualify for No Win, No Fee?
Every case is different, but if you were injured or made ill at work in the last 3 years, you should have no problem finding a solicitor prepared to consider your case.
However, simply meeting the basic conditions is no guarantee you will win your claim. A solicitor will still need to carry out a risk assessment of your case before they agree to take it on on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Risk assessments between solicitors can vary meaning her one solicitor might reject your claim, another might take it on.
Our trained and impartial legal advisors can tell you whether you have a claim. If you would like us to, we can recommend the best solicitor from a nationwide panel of experts who would be prepared to handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win, No Fee FAQs
How much will I have to pay to start a No Win, No Fee claim?
There are no upfront fees or costs payable when you start a No Win, No Fee claim.
Can every type of claim be pursued on a No Win, No Fee basis?
All personal injury and clinical negligence cases where the anticipated award exceeds £1,000 can theoretically be pursued on a No Win, No Fee basis.
The £1,000 limit is set to increase soon, however. In practice, the increase will mean that some solicitors may no longer take on lower-value claims on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Can I make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim on behalf of someone else?
A parent or guardian can assist with a No Win, No Fee claim on behalf of a child under 18 years old. Anyone can act as a 'litigation friend' to assist someone who would be unable to make a claim themselves, due to mental incapacity or serious disability.
Who will pay my compensation?
Work accident compensation is usually paid by the employer's insurer. Employer's liability insurance is mandatory in the UK so it would be extremely rare for an employer not to be covered. If your employer was not insured, your employer would be legally required to pay the compensation themselves.
Is there an alternative to No Win, No Fee?
Legal Aid has not been available for the vast majority of personal injury claims since the year 2000. No Win, No Fee is now the most common way to finance a personal injury claim in the UK. Legal Expenses Insurance means that No Win, No Fee is a risk-free way to get compensation for an injury that was not your fault.
In some cases, there are alternatives to No Win, No Fee that you can explore.
- Financing a claim yourself
- Legal insurance you already have, such as home or car insurance.
- Funding through a trade union
What is 'After the Event' (ATE) insurance?
A standard part of any No Win, No Fee agreement is Legal Expenses Insurance, also known as After the Event Insurance (ATE). ATE insurance will pay any legal fees, costs or expenses you incur. ATE insurance would also pay any legal costs, expenses or fees that you would otherwise be liable for.
Is the availability of No Win, No Fee set to change in 2021?
You may have read about proposed changes to personal injury law. The changes will affect how lower value and soft-tissue injuries will be handled.
As far as work accidents are concerned, claims will need to be pursued through the small claims court if:
- General damages are estimated to be worth less than £2,000.
- The total value of the claim (general damages plus special damages) are less than £10,000.
- The changes were scheduled to come into effect in April 2019 but have now been delayed until May 2021.
If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Find out more about making a work accident claim:
- Do you qualify?
- How much compensation could you get?
- How does No Win, No Fee work?