The introduction in 1995 of Conditional (No Win No Fee) agreements in personal injury cases transferred the burden of funding litigation from the state back to the claimant. Claimants were required to pay up to 25 per cent of their compensation to an accident claims solicitor which left injured people undercompensated, and in serious cases unable to afford the future care or therapy that they require.
In 1999 the government legislated to transfer the burden of funding from the claimant to the defendant, so the insurers of the losing defendant would pay not only the base legal costs but also the claimant’s costs insurance and the success fee.
However the present government does not accept this principle of full compensation and want the claimant to contribute towards the costs of bringing a claim to court. Claimants will effectively return to funding cases from April 2013 again, again being asked to pay for a success fee, insurance, and up to 25 per cent of damages, which will no longer be recoverable from the defendant.
This will cause several problems – certain types of claims such as whiplash related injuries may diminish as many claimants will be unable to fund any litigation costs. Any claimant with devastating permanent injuries may be faced with either losing a quarter of his compensation or risks not finding a lawyer who can take on their case.
In addition Solicitors may have no choice when bringing a case to court, other than charging the client a 25 per cent success fee, in order to ensure they do not end up out of pocket following an unsuccessful claim.
Clough and Willis Solicitors are experts in personal injury compensation claims and a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel. To arrange a free initial meeting to discuss your individual needs and how we can help phone 0800 083 0815 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.