No win no fee lawyers are a critical aspect of the legal sector. Legal work is universally accepted to be expensive and it is a service that many cannot afford. This is where the concept of no win no fee stems as it provides services to those who cannot afford them.
The purpose of this type of payment scheme is to make legal services affordable for those who need it. The general understanding is that the scheme can apply to those who are likely to receive a payout as a result of their claim. This assures the law firm that they are likely to recoup their fees. Ultimately these types of no win no fee schemes would not be able to exist if there was no opportunity for firms to recoup their fees.
What are fee arrangements?
Fee arrangements are normally agreed at the time an individual signs a retainer. The retainer will set out the general costs charged for specific legal services but this is merely an overview of what is expected.
Following the signing of a retainer, you may be able to discuss with the firm or your lawyer whether the payment of fees needs to be paid upfront or whether a payment plan can be agreed for professional fees. Payment plans will likely still have specific payment requirements, i.e. $100 per week minimum. It is important to understand the fee basis of any fee agreement before signing it.
What is a no win no fee agreement?
A no win, no fee arrangement refers to a situation where a lawyer or firm agrees to represent you without charging any upfront legal fees or legal costs. If your case is ultimately unsuccessful, the lawyer agrees not to charge you any legal fees. If your case is successful, you will be provided an account of legal costs which become payable.
There are only certain firms which will consider offering this type of service as the consequences for the firm at significant. Typically, personal injury claim cases or motor vehicle accident claims are ones which lawyers will consider offering this type of arrangement. Personal injury claims and motor vehicle accident claims will be discussed further below. Additionally, workers compensation claims or medical negligence claims can also attract this type of arrangement.
These types of claims have a high success rate because they are based predominantly on facts rather than emotions. These types of claims are injury cases meaning that successful outcomes involve compensation. This will assist with the repayment of costs for legal representation.
Are there any unavoidable fees?
The short answer is yes, there are some unavoidable fees that will need to be paid. Court filing fees or court fees in general are unavoidable and must be paid so that your claim can be heard by the court. Most law firms will require these fees to be paid upfront as there is no guarantee they will recoup them otherwise.
In some instances, a law firm may be willing to pay the fees for you and then add them to your account for payment later. These fee agreements need to be made directly with your lawyer or law firm and they are not guaranteed. You should always discuss the fee arrangement for professional fees prior to engaging legal services.
Unavoidable court fees are usually affordable in nature as the court process is meant to be accessible by all.
What evidence is required for a successful outcome?
In order for a successful no win no fee case, the evidence required must prove the requisite facts without a reasonable doubt. This may involve expert medical reports, professional standards legislation, etc.
Any claim involving any form of personal injury will require medical evidence to prove the following;
- The extent of the injury;
- The predicted pain and suffering (if not already crystallized); and
- The predicted or actual cost of medical bills and rehabilitation.
The above three elements must be satisfied in order for a compensation claim to be successful so that a specific figure can be attributed. Personal injury lawyers will be able to assist with a prediction of this figure and therefore assist you with seeking a settlement amount.
The first element can often be difficult to prove because the extent of your injury and the predicted pain and suffering may not yet be predictable. In many instances, a significant injury can take some time to stabilize and it can be unknown what specific pain and suffering is to expected and for how long that pain and suffering will be for.
This can also feed into the predicted or actual cost of medical bills as rehabilitation costs can be difficult to predict. Ultimately, the court wants to avoid multiple claims being made due to hurried litigation. This is primarily why personal injury claims in particular have a time limit of three years so that injuries have a chance to stabilize prior to the filing of the claim.
Can I engage free legal advice?
There are certain legal services which are free to access however they do not often represent people in court situations or claims. These services exist to provide initial legal advice to people to either answer their preliminary questions or point them in the right direction.
There is no cost agreement relationship with these types of services as they are usually not for profit organisation who receive government funding to provide their service. They will advise you the likelihood of success for a potential claim and refer you to experts if required. They have no expert knowledge of any one area of law and provide a generalization of the main areas, i.e. criminal law, family law, personal injury law, traffic law, etc.
This is a good place to start your legal journey as you will not have to pay a law firm with fee lawyers and you will receive advice regarding the likely success of your claim.
What is a costs application?
A costs application arises when one party seeks that the other party pay their legal fees. It is not usual for this type of situation to occur but in some situations it can. If one party has refused to recognize the merit of the claim and has not made a genuine attempt to settle the matter then that party could be liable for a costs order.
In the event you are successful in having the other side pay your legal costs or are required ti pay the other party’s costs, your financial situation and ability to pay legal fees will be considered. It is important to have briefed your lawyer on your financial risk situation so they are aware in case the situation arises.
Will my lawyer be able to advise the maximum and minimum compensation?
Compensation law details which claims have maximum compensation and minimum compensation requirements. A maximum compensation requirement provides a ceiling. Your lawyer will be able to advise what type of compensation payment you are likely to receive based on your injuries and the nature of your claim.
A personal injury claim for example can range from minor injury, long term pain and suffering or lifetime impairment. Personal injury lawyers will therefore be able to assess what range your injury falls within and provide you advice about your expected outcome.
The types of claims which may attract this type of payment scheme are;
- Personal Injury Claims;
- Public Liability Claims;
- Worker’s Compensation Claims
- Medical Negligence Claims;
It is important that you consider all aspects of your client agreement prior to signing a cost agreement (also known as a fee agreement)for legal costs or services. There can be additional costs of barrister’s fees, uplift fees, or court fees which may not immediately be known at the commencement of services.
Will i receive reasonable advice with a no win no fee lawyer?
No win no fee lawyers provide the same advice as other lawyers. The title they receive merely relates to the payment plans they offer rather than the quality of legal services they provide.
What is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim is a claim filed with the court to seek compensation for an injury sustained as a result of another individual, or companies negligence. Fee personal injury lawyers are the best point of call.
What is a costs agreement?
A costs agreement is an agreement between a law firm and client for the payment of legal services. All costs relate to lawyers fees or fee services incurred by law firms during the process of providing you legal advice and/or legal representation. A costs agreement should not be entered into lightly as the incur of lawyer's fees is enforceable if not paid.