You hear about them on the television, in the papers and on the internet, but what is the deal when it comes to “no win no fee lawyers” (also called no win, no pay lawyers)?
What areas of law offer no win, no fee arrangements?
A no win, no fee arrangement is usually only found in personal injury law cases such as workers’ compensation, motor vehicle accidents, medical negligence and public liability. This is because of the possibility of a sum of money being awarded to the person who has been wronged, usually from an insurer.
Do no win no fee lawyers take most cases on?
Most lawyers that offer no win no fee arrangements are very selective of the cases that they agree to take on. The case must have merit and have a good chance of being successful based on the initial facts.
How does no win no fee work?
After coming to an agreement with your lawyer and signing the costs agreement, they will begin working on your file. They charge for the work done as usual but on a deferred basis. The fees become payable if you get offered a settlement amount in which you accept or if you went to court and had judgment made in your favour.
The good news is that…
If you obtain a settlement amount or judgement made in your favour, the insurer pays for a portion of your legal fees. However, you will need to pay the gap from the amount of compensation that you received.
Be careful though…
Be careful if you reject a settlement offer that your lawyer recommends you to take. It would usually be written in the fine print about what happens in this situation. It could mean that you may be asked to pay for your fees or they may stop the arrangement and you would need to pay your fees up front for them to continue to represent you.
How about Court?
Most no win, no fee agreements are only valid up until a pre trial conference. From there, a new agreement would have to be made between the lawyer, the barrister (if they intend to brief one) and you.
It is also important to know that if the judgement is not in your favour then you may be ordered to pay the legal costs of the other party.