‘No Win, No Fee’ claims for compensation
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win.
What is ‘no win, no fee’? - What does it mean?
We’re often asked, “what does no win, no fee really mean?”, A ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA) allows you to make a claim for compensation where you only pay for your solicitor’s services if you win; paying nothing if you lose. The advantage of a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement is that you don’t have to pay for anything upfront, so it costs you nothing until a settlement has been agreed with the other side (the organisation defending the claim).
When you’ve experienced an injury that’s unfair or unjust, a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement allows you to seek justice regardless of whether you have the money to pay for private legal representation. Many of our clients find that this ‘access to justice’ is incredibly important because often an injury can leave them unable to work, so they can’t pay the high fees usually charged by private law firms. ‘No win, no fee’ claims have allowed thousands of victims to claim the compensation that was rightfully due to them – money they probably wouldn’t have gotten if they’d had to pay for legal help upfront.
Legal action comes with risks, so we will likely purchase After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf to cover you for those risks; for example, if you fail to beat the defendants offer of settlement in Court. ATE insurance, sometimes referred to as an ATE premium, will also cover you against any fees that might arise in case your claim is unsuccessful (you lose).
You might already be covered by something known as ‘Legal Expenses Insurance’ or LEI, usually as part of your car insurance. If this is the case, you may not need an ATE policy. If you decide to claim with us, we’ll be able to tell you whether this is something you’ll require.
Whatever your circumstances, we will recover the best possible compensation amounts from the other side, and we will advise you on how to protect yourself against any further costs.
If you claim with us using a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement, there will be no financial risk to you. For this reason, ‘no win, no fee’ claims are very popular, with 98% of our clients using them.
How do ‘no win, no fee’ claims work?
Claims like this are taken on by ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors because their wealth of experience allows them to work out which cases are likely to succeed before they take them on. If a case is unsuccessful, where you lose, the solicitor doesn’t get paid, so they take on a great deal of risk so that you don’t have to. For ‘no win, no fee’ claims to work; the solicitors need to be good at understanding which cases are likely to win and which ones are likely to lose – some law firms are willing to take on more risk than others. A ‘no win, no fee’ agreement then depends on the solicitor agreeing to take on your case.
We offer a free consultation, where you can talk us through your circumstances, and we can tell you whether we think your case is one we can win.
For this model to work, you’ll enter into a ‘conditional fee agreement’, or a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement which is legally binding; so that if you win, your solicitor is entitled to a share of your compensation as payment for their services. This ‘share’ or fee is usually set at 25% of your overall compensation amount; so if you’re awarded £10,000, your solicitor will be paid £2,500 (25%) while you receive the remaining £7,500, which may be adjusted for any additional costs, like those associated with ATE insurance. For more information on the likely costs, be sure to ask a member of our team when you contact us.
What other funding options are available?
98% of our cases are run on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, but there are other methods of funding your claim. For anyone asking “How can I fund a ‘no win, no fee’ claim?” you can find more detail below:
Legal expenses insurance
Legal Expenses Insurance can be used to fund a claim; if you have this, it’ll likely be included in either your car insurance or home insurance policies; some people even have dedicated legal expenses cover as a stand-alone policy, although this is uncommon.
Legal aid can be used to cover claims involving children who have suffered a serious injury within eight weeks of their birth, or during pregnancy. Thankfully, claims of this kind are rare, but if you believe your child has suffered due to a birth injury or medical negligence, we can advise as to whether you can make use of legal aid to cover the costs of your claim, but this is not an option we can offer to you. However, if you’re eligible for legal aid on a medical negligence case, we can take your case forward without charging you a success fee.
Trade union membership
Some trade union membership packages come with legal cover, so if you’re claiming for an accident or illness incurred at work, and you’re a trade union member, this may be an option for you. If you’re not a trade union member, then a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement may be a better fit for you
If you’re fortunate enough to have the money spare, you may instead choose to fund your claim privately, paying the solicitors fees directly as the case progresses. This method can get expensive and doesn’t guarantee success, which is why many clients opt for a conditional fee agreement instead. If you’re interested in funding your claim yourself, be sure to mention this during your free consultation.
How much compensation will I receive?
The level of compensation you receive will be unique to your circumstances.
Some injuries that cause months of pain but allow for a complete recovery and a return to work won’t be awarded as much compensation as claims involving someone who has sustained a brain injury, who will need round the clock care for the rest of their life.
As part of your compensation award, many things need to be considered; for example, do you need to provide for your family? Do you have other responsibilities that you can’t meet because of your injury? Have you lost money because you’ve had to take time off work? Have you incurred costs and expenses because of your injury or illness?
The total amount you can claim is affected by how well your claim is prepared. To make sure you’re awarded as much as possible, it’s important that your solicitor asks all the right questions so that everything you can claim for is covered, and so that any future challenges or complications can be catered for.
The key things we look at include:
- How serious your illness or injury is
- How you’ve been affected by the incident
- What kind of impact this illness or injury will have on your future, including future care and support needs
- How much money you might lose, or have already lost because of it (lost wages, medical costs)
- Future adaptations or specialised equipment you might need (mobility scooters, prosthetic limbs )
Exceptions to our ‘no win, no fee’ agreement
There are rare occasions where we’re unable to offer ‘no win, no fee’ agreement; where this is the case our solicitors will be clear about what your options are. If a ‘no win, no fee’ or conditional fee agreement isn’t possible, any costs you’re likely to incur will be discussed with you beforehand so you can make a reasoned decision on whether or not you’d still like to pursue a claim.
The history of ‘no win, no fee’
Legal services and advice have typically been expensive and difficult for many people to access. With many experienced solicitors charging hundreds of pounds per hour, legal support has typically been off-limits to all but the ‘well off’.
If you’ve fallen ill or been injured when it wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to spend thousands on legal fees to get justice. But the reality is that many cannot afford these costs and so many simply had to live with the debilitating effects of their injuries. To help those in need, ‘no win, no fee’ personal injury claims were introduced to the UK back in 1995. This meant that people could finally get legal support without needing to worry about having to spend money up front to get justice – money that many families don’t have to spare.
Up until April 2013, the legal costs of a claim would all be paid by the losing side. This meant that if you made a claim and were successful, you’d keep all of the compensation that was awarded to you, while your lawyers would have their fees paid for by the defending party.
Unfortunately, the UK government made further changes to the England and Wales legal system in 2013 that meant that while ‘no win, no fee’ agreements can still be used, some of the compensation you are awarded may be used to pay some of the legal costs associated with your case. These costs would only need to be met if your claim is successful, if you lose your claim, you won’t be expected to cover these costs.
The fees that would need to be paid are recovered from your settlement before it’s paid directly to you. The amount that is subtracted is different for everyone, and there are some claim types where deductions aren’t necessary. We won’t be able to advise you on the precise amount that will be deducted, but we can go through estimates in percentage terms with you before you agree to use our services.
In any event, our expert solicitors will work to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible; and you’ll never have to worry about paying for any legal fees up front. We’ll be in touch with you regularly throughout your case so there will never be any nasty surprises.
‘No win, no fee’ and legal aid
Legal aid is made available to help provide access to justice for those who cannot afford the costs of legal advice. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be eligible for legal aid for personal injury or medical negligence cases, unless the circumstances are exceptional, or unless your child suffered a brain injury during pregnancy, birth or the first eight weeks of its life. If you are eligible for legal aid on a medical negligence case, we do not charge a success fee. To be sure though, you can use this free online tool to see what legal aid you’re eligible for:
Getting in touch with us, however, is free, and any advice or guidance we provide during your initial consultation is also free. You’re under no obligation to use our services when you speak to us, so you can focus on getting the answers you need without the ‘hard sell’.
If we think you have a claim, we’ll let you know during your call with us; that way, you can take some time out to consider your options. If you decide you do wish to move forward with a claim for compensation, we can tell you what next steps to take when making a ‘no win, no fee’ claim.
Finding out if you can claim
There are three ways for you to find out whether you have a claim for compensation
- You can request a callback, and our team will call you at a time to suit you to discuss your circumstances
- You can use our free online claim checker to see whether you can claim by entering a few details about your claim before entering any personal information
- Or you can call us free of charge and you can speak directly to us to find out what your options are
In each case, you can find out more of what’s possible and get an expert opinion on your case without needing to commit to anything.
What does a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement include?
Having spoken to us over the phone, if you decide to start a claim, we’ll send you some paperwork to sign either through the post or by email depending on your preferences (think about the trees!). Included in this paperwork will be your conditional fee agreement or CFA. When signed, this formal document will be legally binding so be sure to read it carefully and note down any questions you might have or any points you’re not sure about, so we can talk you through them.
This agreement should include:
An estimate of your total costs
During the legal process, it’s possible that unexpected things may appear that will take time to address, or the ‘other side’ may behave unpredictably, making it difficult to provide a concrete figure for the total costs amount. What we can do, is look at cases that are similar to yours and provide a rough estimate of the costs involved, if your case is successful. The breakdown of these costs will be provided along with how they will be paid.
How a ‘win’ is defined
The term ‘win’ can mean many different things to different people; what some solicitors will consider a ‘win’ legally-speaking may not look like much of a win to you. When we think of a ‘win’, we think of it in terms of a positive outcome for you. Even so, the definition of a ‘win’ will be detailed in your ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, so you should read this carefully to make sure you’re happy with it.
What happens if you want to end the agreement?
Your no win, no fee agreement can be ended at any time. It’s worth knowing that if you end your agreement before any compensation is won, we may charge you for the time we’ve spent on your case up until that time, as there will be no way for us to deduct our expenses from a final settlement amount. The no win no fee agreement will describe in detail what will happen if the agreement is ended early, but If you’re worried about this, please ask us for more detail during your call with us so we can tell you more.
Can you take over from my current lawyers?
There are rare occasions where people begin their claim with a solicitor, only to find that their case is being poorly run, or that the level of service they receive is unacceptable. For others, they might be unsure whether there’s a problem, and would simply like a second opinion on something they’ve seen or received. We do accept transfers on a case by case basis, so you may benefit from the outstanding service and expertise that we provide.
We do advise that if you’re having second thoughts about your chosen solicitor or law firm, you should always raise these issues with them directly in case there is anything they can do to improve their service or to clarify and address any issues or suspicions you might have. If you’re still unsatisfied with the response and your subsequent treatment, we’ll be more than happy to help you.
If you do decide to transfer your case to us, we’ll look after all of the needed arrangements. For more information on moving your claim to new solicitors, contact us free today.
How likely am I to win a ‘no win, no fee’ case?
We’re often asked, “How do I know if my compensation claim will be successful?” - With more than 30 years of experience in the personal injury sector, we’ve developed very clear guidelines on the kinds of cases that we accept. So, if we accept your case, the prospects of success are likely to be high. Our solicitors across medical negligence, road traffic accidents, industrial disease and personal injury, are trained to the highest standard and will be able to provide some initial thoughts on your case during your free consultation.
We cannot offer any guarantees, however, sometimes new evidence comes to light, or complications occur that prevent us from succeeding. There are even cases where clients have forgotten to share key information with us that ultimately loses their case for them. Each case we take on is unique, so the chances of success vary from client to client; whatever happens, if we’re unsuccessful, you won’t be charged a penny.
What happens if my ‘no win, no fee’ claim is successful?
Sometimes we’re asked, “what happens if you win your ‘no win, no fee’ claim?”, If your case is successful, you won’t have to pay anything out of your own pocket. Most legal fees and expenses will be paid for by the losing side (.e.g. medical reports and court fees), but there are often other fees that need to be covered by what we call a ‘success fee’. A success fee is an amount we deduct from your final settlement figure to cover any additional fees or costs. To cover you for any risks at the beginning of your case, we also take out an After the Event Insurance policy (ATE), which is chargeable in addition to the success fee.
Success fees on our personal injury cases are never more than 25% of your final compensation amount (although it can be more in housing disrepair or professional negligence cases). In some extreme cases, like those involving brain injuries or mesothelioma, we don’t deduct anything from your compensation award.
In most cases, the most you can expect to see deducted will be the cost of your ATE premium and the success fee of up to 25%; the remainder will be transferred directly to you.
If you have any questions about our success fees or ATE premiums, let us know, and we can discuss these in more detail with you.
What happens if you lose your ‘no win, no fee’ claim?
If your claim is unsuccessful, or we lose, there will be no financial risk to you*
Your ATE policy will protect you from any of your opponents’ legal costs, and it will also cover any fees or disbursements that might otherwise be charged to you. There will be nothing for you to pay and there will be no hidden costs.
It can be frustrating to lose a claim, particularly if it’s taken months or years of work. Unfortunately, cases are rarely straightforward, and there are a lot of variables to consider. We talk to our clients regularly so if it looks as though something unusual is happening, we can tell you early, so you know what to expect.
What percentage do ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors take?
We’re sometimes asked, “What percentage do solicitors take out of my compensation?”. The ‘success fee’ we charge is never more than 25% of your overall compensation amount. This will be discussed with you before you sign up to make a claim, so you know what’s involved.
When your claim is won, the compensation amount will be sent directly to our ‘client account’; at this point, we deduct our success fee and the cost of your ATE premium and send the remainder directly to a bank account you’ve specified.
‘No win, no fee’ FAQs
Can children make a claim?
If you are now over 18 years of age but would like to claim for an accident or injury that occurred while you were a child, you have until your 21st birthday to claim.
Children, on the other hand, cannot claim compensation alone as they are under the age of 18. Instead, a parent or guardian needs to support them by taking on the role of a ‘litigation friend’. If compensation is secured, this will often be held in a trust until the child reaches the age of 18; although in some circumstances they may be able to access this sooner if the money is needed for care, support or other treatment needs.
For more information on making a claim when children are involved, contact us and speak to a member of our expert team.
Do you have legal expense insurance?
Legal Expense Insurance, or LEI, is a type of cover that provides support should you need to seek legal advice. Many people already have this cover, as it’s often built into car insurance and home insurance policies; others may also find they receive it as an add-on after opening a bank account. Most people don’t even realise they have legal expenses insurance.
If you have an eligible LEI policy, you won’t need to pay for an ATE policy, because your legal expenses will already be covered by your policy. If you’re unsure as to whether you have LEI, our team can review your policies for you to see if you have it. You can also check through the associated policy terms to see if LEI is mentioned. In practice however, many LEI providers will advise that you obtain a specific LEI policy.
Why choose ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors?
‘No win, no fee’ solicitors are often a good choice if you do not have the funds available to pay for legal advice and services upfront. Experienced solicitors can cost hundreds of pounds per hour, so for many people, paying upfront for legal help simply isn’t an option.
‘No win, no fee’ solicitors on the other hand only get paid if your case is won, so it is in their interest to make sure your case is run to a successful outcome. It also means that because payment is only taken when compensation is awarded, so you won’t have to pay out for anything.
When does ‘no win, no fee’ apply?
‘No win, no fee’ agreements apply when the person looking to claim (the claimant) cannot pay for legal fees upfront, and where they do not have Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) – although many people have LEI, they’re just not aware of it. This leaves a conditional fee agreement (CFA) or a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement as an option where the solicitor is paid a percentage of the total compensation amount if the claimant ‘wins’. This allows the claimant to get access to justice without upfront fees, and it motivates the solicitor as they only get paid if the case is successful and their client receives damages.
What do I have to pay?
Over our 30 years in business, we’ve won 95% of our client's claims overall. If you’re one of the 95%, our success fee and the cost of an ATE policy will be deducted from your overall compensation amount at the very end after you’ve ‘won’. If you’re one of the 5% whose claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay anything. In either case, there are no upfront fees to worry about.
Are there any catches to ‘no win, no fee’?
There are no catches to our ‘no win, no fee’ agreements. If you don’t win, you do not need to pay for our legal fees.
Sometimes, we do speak to clients who have been led to believe that ‘no win, no fee’ means that the service is free whatever the outcome. This isn’t true. If you ‘win’, we will deduct a ‘success fee’, but this only happens when you’re awarded compensation, and we never take more than 25% plus the cost of an ATE premium.
In some rare cases, clients will give us misleading information or will leave out important details when bringing their case to us. If we spend time working on a case after we were told that the victim wasn’t at fault, and we later find evidence that the victim was, in fact, responsible, cancelling out their claim, then we may bill them directly for the work we’ve done up until that point. It’s important then that you give us all the detail you can, as honestly as possible. Some individuals may be tempted to exaggerate their injuries or the impact an illness has had on their life to try and get more compensation – but this never works and is eventually found out, causing some otherwise legitimate cases to be thrown out.
Can I claim on behalf of someone else?
Yes, you can. If the person you’re claiming for is a child under the age of 18 or is physically or mentally incapable of making a claim, then you can claim on their behalf as a ‘litigation friend’.
If a child is injured during childbirth, as a result of medical negligence, or due to an accident, then you may be able to claim for them as they cannot make a claim themselves until they reach the age of 18.
Similarly, if a close family member is injured or suffers from an illness that leaves them unable to make a claim, then you can also act on their behalf. In some rare and tragic circumstances, it might be that a loved one has died, killed as a result of negligence, in which case you may begin the legal process of making a claim to try and get some answers and to hold those responsible to account.
If you’re unsure on where you stand, you’re welcome to call us, and we’ll help you to work out what your options are.
How do I compare ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors?
Unlike car insurance and technical products, it can be hard to compare like-for-like when trying to decide what personal injury solicitor or law firm to use.
Some clients like to choose a firm who is local to them; others prefer to deal with firms who allow for a range of communication options. Our advice would be to note down what’s important to you and to short-list firms who meet that criteria. After which, you can look at the reviews your short-listed firms have received on Trustpilot and Google to get a feel for how their existing clients feel about the service they received.
Another important point to look for is experience. Who is going to be handling your claim? A well-known solicitor with decades of experience is far more likely to win your case and get you more compensation than someone junior at a new firm. Look to see who’s running the department which handles your kind of claim, look them up on LinkedIn and see whether they’re mentioned in the Chambers and Partners or the Legal 500 guides.
Some clients like to try and work out what a solicitor’s fees look like as a means of comparison. Unfortunately, most law firms will try to charge the maximum 25% success fee, regardless of whether they have junior staff working cases or highly experienced legal professionals. Solicitors with more experience are much more likely to get you a better outcome, so the low-cost option might not be the ‘best’ option.
After looking at all this, the final way to decide is to call the firms on your shortlist and to talk to them. Who do you really ‘click’ with? Some claims can take years to complete, so it’s important that you feel happy talking to your solicitor openly about your circumstances.
What are the rules for ‘no win, no fee’ in Northern Ireland?
If you live in Northern Ireland, it is still possible to make a medical negligence or personal injury claim, but unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement available. For this reason, we do not accept claims of this kind, so you will likely be better served by a law firm based in Northern Ireland.
Claiming in Scotland
If you live in Scotland, unfortunately, we won’t be able to assist you in making a claim. The legal system in England and Wales differs from the system used in Scotland, so we would advise that you look for a reputable firm in Scotland who can help you.
Are all legal cases covered by ‘no win, no fee’?
No. Most cases that are started under a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement are ‘civil’ cases, where no criminal charges are involved. Personal injury, industrial disease and medical negligence cases are classed as ‘civil’, and so these are covered by ‘no win, no fee’ agreements across England and Wales. Criminal cases, however, are not covered by ‘no win, no fee’ agreements.
In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the rules are different, so you may benefit from using a solicitor based in these areas.
What will happen when I make a ‘no win, no fee’ claim?
Making a ‘no win, no fee’ claim begins with a conversation. We arrange a free, no-obligation phone call with you to listen to your story and to understand your circumstances. We’ll ask questions about your illness or injury, how that occurred, how that has affected your life, and how you believe someone else is responsible. We will go on to gather your details, and we will also ask you questions about either your work or medical history, depending on the kind of claim you’re looking to make. If we have much of the information we need at the end of our discussion, we should be able to tell you whether we think you have a claim. In some cases, particularly with medical negligence claims, we may need to see your medical records before we can make a decision.
If we decide that you do have a claim, we will discuss the funding and payment options with you, inclusive of ‘no win, no fee’ agreements. If you decide you’d like us to work on your case and you’re happy with the funding options outlined to you, we will send you our terms of business and an agreement to sign. Once the agreement is signed, we’ll begin the work of collecting all the evidence we need to present a robust case that will be hard to defend against.
We do our best to negotiate compensation settlements outside of court, but if the opponent (defendant) still refuses to acknowledge that they’re at fault or won’t agree to the compensation amount that we’re asking for, then we will begin court proceedings. Even when court proceedings are started, many cases are still settled before a court date is set, but if your case goes ‘all the way’ to court, we will be on hand to help you along every step.
How long do I have to make a ‘no win, no fee’ claim?
Typically, you have three years to make a ‘no win, no fee’ claim. This isn’t always black and white, however. If you were injured on a specific date in an accident at work, you would have three years from that date to claim. But if you were made ill by contaminants or hazardous materials at work, this can take decades to show up, so in this case your three years would begin from the date that your doctor tells you that you have an illness that’s been caused by work – such as with asbestosis, mesothelioma and noise-induced hearing loss.
The date at which you learn you’ve been injured or made ill by work, often after diagnosis from a doctor, is what we call the ‘date of knowledge’, the date where you became aware that your work or the actions of someone else are to blame for your illness, injury and suffering.
Therefore, in cases of industrial disease or medical negligence your three-year time limit begins with your ‘date of knowledge’ Although the rules differ in the cases of children or adults who do not have the mental capacity to claim on their own.
Why choose us?
- We ‘ve been in business for more than 30 years
- We’ve won over £250million for our clients over the last ten years
- We have an overall success rate of 95%
- We’re totally independent of insurance companies.
- We’re specialists in personal injury and medical negligence
- We’re a regulated and authorised law firm, not a ‘middleman’
Contact our ‘no win, no fee’ specialists
For a free, no obligation discussion on making a claim, speak to a member of our specialist team or use our online claims checker. If you’re stuck for time, you can request a call back at a time to suit you.
Our expert teams are directed by Laura Morgan, Alison Saul and Claire Critchley. Between them, they have decades of legal experience shared across medical negligence, industrial disease, personal injury and professional negligence.
The work of our teams has been recognised in the Chambers and Partners guide as “tenacious and detail-oriented”, and we’ve also been featured in the prestigious Legal 500 rankings
Our solicitors and legal teams are committed to guiding you through every step of the claims process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally, working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.
Rated as ‘Excellent’ on TrustPilot, our customer service is among the best in the industry, so if you’re looking for a ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor you can depend on, you should speak to us.
- *There will be no financial risk to you, so long as you abide by our terms of business. This includes the provision of honest statements and evidence, as well as providing documentation and directions in a timely manner. If you provide us with misleading information, or you fail to cooperate with us when we require your input, then you may be charged for legal fees and expenses that arises from non-cooperation.