If you suffer an injury caused by somebody else’s negligence, you may decide to take legal action against them. As you may know, many solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service to allow more people to benefit from legal representation. In this guide to Conditional Fee Agreements, we’ll explain what a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is and why it’s important in No Win No Fee claims. The main benefit of a CFA in personal injury claims is that you’ll only have to pay your solicitor if your case is won and you are compensated.
What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?
A Conditional Fee Agreement is a contract between you and your personal injury solicitor. It is used to formalise the fact that your solicitor will act on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis.
The CFA will explain what work your solicitor will do during the case and what they’ll need to achieve before you need to pay them. Ultimately, you’ll only pay for their work if you are paid compensation. Where that happens, you’ll pay your solicitor a success fee. If the claim doesn’t work out in your favour, you won’t pay any solicitor’s fees at all.
What Is A Success Fee?
Within your Conditional Fee Agreement, a success fee will be clearly defined. It is a percentage of your compensation that will be deducted if your case is won. The fee is designed to cover your solicitor’s work and expenses.
By law, success fees cannot be any higher than 25% of your compensation. You should check your CFA to confirm what percentage you’ll pay to your solicitor if your claim is won.
The beauty of fixed-rate success fees is that even if your solicitor’s costs are high, you won’t be asked to pay any more than 25% of your compensation.
What Details Need To Be Included In A CFA?
A Conditional Fee Agreement must specify the following details:
- The specific proceedings or parts of the proceedings that the CFA relates to.
- Details of how and when the solicitor’s fees related to the case have to be paid.
- Details of the exact amount payable under various circumstances.
To check if you could use one of our personal injury solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis, please get in touch.
Accident Claims That Could Be Funded By A Conditional Fee Agreement
Here are some of the main types of accident or injury claims that could be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement:
- Road traffic accident claims.
- Accident at work claims.
- Medical negligence claims.
- Slip, trip or fall claims.
- Council compensation claims.
- Criminal injury claims.
- Holiday accident claims.
Essentially, you could use a CFA to claim for any type of personal injury that was caused by somebody else’s negligence.
Eligibility To Make Personal Injury Claims
Although No Win No Fee services are great for claimants, solicitors take on most of the financial risks involved with claiming. Therefore, they will only take on cases that have a reasonable chance of success. To help verify your eligibility to claim, your solicitor will check whether:
- You were owed a duty of care by the other party in your case (the defendant); and
- They were negligent and caused an accident; and
- Their negligence caused you to sustain an injury or made you ill.
If all of the above are true, a Conditional Fee Agreement could be used to fund your case.
Benefits Of A CFA For You And Your Solicitor
A CFA stands to benefit both you and your solicitor. You can avail of the best personal injury solicitor’s services without being out of pocket while the case is being processed.
As mentioned above, personal injury solicitors usually only agree to a CFA after evaluating the merits of a case so their risk is minimal. If you’ve got a strong case, your solicitor should have a better chance of getting you a good compensation settlement, and the more compensation you receive should mean the more your solicitor gets paid, based on the success fee agreed upon. So essentially it’s a win-win.
After The Event Insurance Policies
To help reduce the financial risks involved with claiming, you may be asked to take out an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy. This may not be necessary if your home or vehicle insurance covers legal costs.
ATE insurance allows solicitors to provide a No Win No Fee service and covers any costs you might need to pay the defendant if your case fails.
Key Points To Keep In Mind Regarding CFAS
- A CFA is not just a casual, oral agreement between you and your solicitor. It is a written agreement that is legally binding and features a detailed explanation of all clauses.
- It is important to make sure that there should be no grey areas in a Conditional Fee Agreement. This document should state very clearly whether you are liable to pay a fixed fee if you win the case or whether you are liable to pay a percentage of the compensation you receive.
- The CFA must be outlined and drafted up before officially instructing your solicitor to take up your case so that you have an opportunity to decide whether you want to go ahead or whether you want to check out another solicitor.
- The ‘success fee’ percentage should be decided upon at this stage and the agreed-upon percentage should be stated in the CFA.
Although most solicitors will have almost similar terms and conditions in their CFAs, there will be a few differences so make sure you read through it before you sign the document.
Using A Conditional Fee Agreement To Fund A Personal Injury Claim
We believe it’s best to have a personal injury solicitor on your side when seeking compensation. Claiming with a Conditional Fee Agreement reduces your financial risk and will make the claims process a lot less stressful.
If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll handle all aspects of the claim for you. That means you won’t need to discuss anything with the defendant and there won’t be any complex questions to answer.
In all cases, your solicitor will attempt to ensure you’re fully compensated for your injuries. If you’d like us to review your options, or find out more on Conditional Fee Agreements, call us on 0800 6524 881 today. If your case appears to be viable, we could pass it to a No Win No Fee solicitor straight away.