In 1995 no win no fee car accident compensation claims were first introduced to the UK (legislation.gov.uk) and in specific to both England and Wales.
These types of cases were created to get you a fair hearing and justice even if you are unable to afford to pay for the legal representation yourself. Changes were then made to them in April 2013 and now claimants are expected to contribute to their legal costs based upon the car crash compensation they receive.
What a No Win No Fee Car Accident Claim?
Whenever you’re dealing with claims that have to do with car accidents you will find that there are actually a lot of solicitors who are willing to take these cases on what is known as a “no win no fee” basis. What this means is that if the solicitor or their law firm is unable to win your case, you won’t have to pay them any fees.
Typically, any fees that you may be expected to pay are a percentage of the compensation that you were awarded so they will come directly out of your compensation. This is oftentimes referred to as a “success fee.” Regardless of what you call it though, it will be explained with by the law firm that you enter into an agreement with.
The law firm will technically be covering all of the legal aspects of your situation without you incurring any fees up front. Therefore, the solicitor is assuming somewhat of a risk with each of these types of cases that they take on.
The document that lays out your car accident compensation plan in detail is known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (a.k.a. CFA). It’s an official, legally binding, written agreement between you and the solicitor’s law firm that must be signed prior to any work being done on your behalf in a case. In short, it is a document that essentially says that you are hiring them to represent you in this lawsuit.
As of April 2013 the solicitor was allowed to establish a percentage of the recovered damages as their success fee. As such, it could be as much as 25% of the damages that are recovered by your claim. This is why it is so important to be sure that you understand the payment terms, along with any other necessary details, prior to signing the agreement.
For a full explanation of No Win No Fee read our ultimate guide.
Deciding Whether Or Not to Make Car Accident Claims
Sometimes you may find yourself wondering, “Should I even bother making a claim?” This is a very easy question to answer. Typically, you’ll want to pursue a claim whenever you’ve suffered any financial, physical or psychological harm from the accident and this harm was of no fault of your own. It doesn’t matter if you were a cyclist, motorcyclist, pedestrian, or the driver of another vehicle, you may still be entitled to car crash compensation. The only thing that would change is how your claim would be filed. For instance, if you were a passenger in a vehicle that got involved in a car crash, then you’d file off the driver’s insurance policy or that of the person who actually caused the accident.
Fast Facts about UK Car Crashes
Here are some fast facts about car crash claims:
- According to The Law Society, more than 3 million people in the UK are injured by a car accident.
- According to the UK Personal Injury Litigation Report, Datamonitor, April 2013 37.1% of car occupants and 15.1% of motorcycle riders or passengers are injured in an accident.
- According to 1stclaims.co.uk 1 female to every 8 men are in a car accident.
- According to 1stclaims.co.uk there are over 246,000 miles of road in the UK and 30% of it’s in disrepair.
- According to the Department of Transportation (a.k.a. DFT) in 2011 car crash compensation cost the economy £15.6 Billion. You would have to double these figures in order to determine just what the compensation is for unreported car crashes.
- According to parliament.uk more than 70% of claims involved whiplash compensation.
- According to the DFT 14,500 motorcyclists between the ages of 20 and 29 were killed in 2011.
- According to the DFT you’re 72 times more likely to die on a motorcycle than in a car.
Car Crash Injury Claims
A whiplash claim is the most common type of car injury claim. In fact, they make up to 70% of claims pursued in this regard. Whenever you have a rapid collision that causes strain that results in pain in your spine, neck or shoulders, then you may have a whiplash claim that could result in whiplash compensation. A lot of people actually do receive whiplash compensation for such accidents.
When to Make Car Crash Claims
Now that you have a better understanding of how these types of claims work whenever you’ve been in a car accident, you may find yourself wondering when you should actually go ahead and file one with a solicitor on your behalf. This is because most people understand that there are strict time limits with such cases.
These will tell you by when you will need to have started your case. However, they do vary depending upon numerous different factors such as the nature of the accident and your resulting injury, where the accident took place and whom you’re bringing the claim against. For these reasons, it’s important to promptly seek out the advice of a solicitor in regards to your case.
According to English law, the majority of cases do have a 3 year time limit that starts at the time of the car accident. Of course, if your accident happened to have taken place outside of England or Wales, then there will be a different time limit that you’ll need to abide by. Sometimes other countries will have shorter time limits, even as short as only 2 years.
There are some very limited circumstances in which a court may decide to allow a claim to be continued past this aforementioned time limit but you should never assume that a court will apply discretion such as this in regards to your claim. Nevertheless, even if you may think that the time period for your claim has already expired, it’s still a good idea to speak with a solicitor just to make sure.
How a No Win No Fee Claim Works
According to legislation.gov.uk the majority of claims that have to do with car accidents (98%) are funded by a no win no fee agreement today. This is because with this type of a conditional fee agreement you won’t have any type of financial risk. Instead, your entire case will be reviewed in order to determine whether or not your case is best suited for this type of an agreement. If so, you will sign the agreement and have an insurance policy that’s designed to protect you established.
In the event that your case is unsuccessful, then there won’t be any financial risk for you. On the other hand, if your case is actually successful, then the majority of your basic legal costs and disbursements (i.e. court fees, medical costs) will be paid by the person who is responsible for having caused the accident.
What this means is that you won’t be required to pay a penny out of your own pocket until the claim has been successfully ended. At that time your solicitor will receive the “success fee” that was included within the agreement that you signed with their law firm. This is how the solicitor and their law firm are compensated for the risk that they took in taking on your lawsuit. While your opponent will have to pay for the majority of these fees, any costs that they don’t pay will be deducted from the compensation prior to when you actually receive it.
For instance, your opponent will not be required to pay for your insurance policy’s premium as it was established to protect you against any legal costs that you might have otherwise incurred if the lawsuit was unsuccessful or any of the basic legal costs. These things will instead be recovered from your insurance policy so there are no hidden costs involved, whatsoever.
Remember, in the event that you should lose, you won’t have any financial risk. This is because you’ll be fully covered by the insurance policy that was set up at the beginning of your lawsuit. The policy will protect you against any of your opponent’s legal fees as well.
How to Make Car Crash Claims
It is easy to file a claim, especially when you have a good solicitor on your side. With their knowledge of the claims process they will investigate who was actually responsible for the accident in the first place. They know that it’s important for you to get money to pay for bills and fund your healthcare and rehabilitation. As such, they’ll give you clear advice in regards to financial issues. While all of this may sound daunting to you now, experienced, well trained lawyers will help you understand everything throughout the entire process.
How Much Compensation You May Be Awarded
There are numerous factors that go into determining your compensation, including how:
Serious the accident was
It only makes sense that the more seriously you were injured, the more compensation you will receive.
The accident has impacted your life
Some accidents won’t have a lifelong impact, while others will. Whenever you’re injured for life, it only makes sense that you’re properly compensated for life.
Much money you’ve lost or are going to lose
You deserve to be fully repaid for any money that may have gone into your healthcare bills or fixing your vehicle so that you can use it again.
Much extra support you’ll need both now and in the future as well
In the same way that some accidents will have a lifelong, some accidents will require you to have additional medical support in the future. Any claim you file will take a look at this in an attempt to ensure that you’ll be able to pay for the healthcare that you’ll need in the future.
While nobody can tell you for sure just how much money you’re going to be rewarded for your injuries, it never hurts to make an estimate in this regard.
A Final Thought
Your whiplash claim or car accident claims will more than likely have a 3 year time limit. So, if you think that you’re entitled to car accident compensation, you should look into filing a no win no fee claim as soon as possible.
Taking the time to understand all of this material and find the right solicitor to have on your side really will help to ensure the best outcome for your case.
Just make sure that you read through and truly understand everything before you sign any of it as you’ll eventually need to pay the solicitor for his hard work and efforts. You want to make sure that everything is done correctly and that starts at the very beginning before any proceeding actually takes place.