When you hear about conditional fee agreements or to put it simpler, no win, no fee, it is normal to be apprehensive since this might be one of those things that we could consider to be “too good to be true”. And you are right to be cautious.
Before you go to an agreement with a lawyer regarding contingency fees, you have to double or even triple check the fine print since these agreements vary, and there are those that even if you did not win the settlement, there are some minor fees that you still need to pay. After all, nothing is free anymore in this world.
Nonetheless, a no win, no fee agreement is still fairly agreeable than hiring a lawyer to represent you who you need to pay upfront for their legal expertise. So, to make sure that you are getting the best service without having to use all the money you have.
Even if the premise says that you would not have to pay a single cent if you did not win your claim, there might still be unexpected fees. For example, barrister fees or medical expert fees which are not included in your agreement with a no win no fee lawyer. These expenditures might cost thousands and is unavoidable since they are necessary to help you win your case.
There are also other instances when you might be billed unexpected expenses such as when you failed to cooperate with your lawyer or you did not follow their advice or you decided to have an out of court settlement or when you won the case but the other party was not able to give you the settlement. Some of these scenarios are unlikely to happen and avoidable but still a possibility. So, better prepare for these instances as well.
“After the Event” Insurance Policy
Some lawyers who agree to a conditional fee agreement might still ask their client for an “After the Event” or ATE insurance policy. ATE insurance covers legal costs acquired during a proceeding. Before you sign an agreement with a lawyer, inquire if they would be requiring this insurance from you as well.
Since the lawyer or the firm would be working on your behalf and would make sure that you win your settlement for them to get paid as well, you need to clarify what is their success fees (and or if they are charging for this). A success fee is different from a solicitor’s fee or what you owe the lawyer for their legal services. A success fee is an additional charge. If and when the lawyer you hired is charging success fees, make sure that they are charging you the allowable percentage from your compensation and nothing more.
Perhaps the best way you could ensure that you and the lawyer you want to hire for your injury claims case are on the same page is to be upfront and ask them how much you would pay if you win your case and how much you still have to pay if you didn’t. In this way, you could prepare beforehand even if you managed to have a contingency agreement.