Legal fees vary from law firm to law firm. They are usually made up of hours worked, and they will include administration services and legal services.
Now the important bit – 99 per cent of personal injury claims are processed by law firms on a ‘no win, no fee basis’. Otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement stipulates that your lawyer will only be paid if their case wins. If your case is successful, then your lawyer will be paid in one of two ways. They will either recover their costs from the other side, leaving you with 100 per cent of your compensation, or they will cover their legal costs by taking a percentage of your final compensation amount.
By law, that amount can only be up to 25 per cent of the compensation amount. So for example, your lawyer can only take a maximum £250 if you are awarded £1,000. Some law firms may take a reduced amount from your compensation, providing that they can recover the bulk of their costs from the other side. It is normal practice for fees to be deducted from compensation, however, so do not be alarmed if this is the law firm’s policy.
Another thing to look out for is accident helplines. Helplines such as the one at http://www.accidentadvicehelpline.co.uk/ are free to call and use, and they carry no obligation to make a claim. However, not all helplines are this good, so always make sure you understand call costs and consultation fees prior to calling a different helpline.
Checking legal fees :It is absolutely crucial that you fully understand how your lawyer will be paid, before you sign anything or agree to proceed with your personal injury claim. The last thing you want is to be surprised if you receive less compensation than the settlement demand put forward. Your lawyer is obligated to explain fees to you, as part of the Agreement. If you do not feel informed, notify your lawyer, because once you sign you are tied into the agreement.
What about court costs? :It is very rare for personal injury claims to go to court. However, higher value claims do sometimes find their way into a courtroom (for reference, claims usually have to have a value exceeding £28,000 to be considered). Court costs will incur additional legal fees, in the form of barrister fees. However, it is usually the case that such costs can be recovered from the other side, if the claim result does indeed go in the claimant’s favour. Barrister/ court fees should always be clearly explained to you long before court proceedings are finalised.
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