‘No Win, No Fee’ Explained
Most law firms in Perth offer ‘no win, no fee’ legal agreements between prospective clients and the lawyer. But what does it really mean?
‘No win, no fee’ is a term used to describe a legal representation, generally when dealing with personal injury matters. ‘It’s an agreement that offers assurance between a lawyer and client that payment of legal fees will be deferred until your case has been settled. In the event that your case is not successful, you will not be liable to pay any legal fees. Conditions may apply if your matter proceeds to trial.
Clients often find this type of agreement an attractive option, due to the fact that upfront legal fees are generally waived. However, before you sign any costs agreement, it’s important to understand what ‘no win, no fee’ means in practical terms. This will help you decide if this service is the best option for you and your personal situation.
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How A ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement Works
Some people assume that a no win, no fee agreement means that if you win your case, you incur no fees at all. Unfortunately this isn’t the case.
A conditional costs agreement is typically drafted up by a lawyer and outlines the conditions under which payments are required. Understanding the definition of what is deemed a successful outcome in the agreement is crucial as not all law firms define a successful outcome the same. It is important that you review your costs agreement and discuss with your lawyer the definition of a successful outcome to understand when you might be required to pay professional fees.
Your lawyer may agree to defer their billable hours until a successful outcome is achieved, and will usually deduct their fees from the settlement money you receive as compensation.
A no win, no fee arrangement of this kind is usually on the basis that you agree to meet certain conditions imposed by the law firm, such as you agreeing to follow the firm’s reasonable advice throughout the duration of your case.
However, in the event that the outcome of your case is not successful where court proceedings are involved, whilst it is uncommon, you may still be obligated to pay the lawyer’s fees depending on the conditions you and your law firm have agreed to. Additionally, you may have to pay the other party’s fees as well, particularly if legal proceedings are instigated.
Understanding The Legal Costs of a 'No Win No Fee' Service
There are two types of legal costs that can be incurred in the preparation and representation of your case.
This is the time the lawyer spends working on your case, as well as any time administrative staff who may have assisted in the preparation of your claim.
Medical Professional Fees
Medical professional fees are fees an individual needs to pay after incurring a personal injury through an accident or any tragic conditions that need immediate medical attention.
Expert Witness Fees
Expert witness fee is one of the costs that may need to be paid upfront. This is for the time a witness will require to help build a stronger standpoint for a successful outcome.
Private Investigator Fees
Private investigator fees are another expense that may come out of the client’s pockets. While it can be costly, it is one way to ensure that the case has merit and identifies any loopholes.
Other party’s legal costs
The other party’s legal costs may become your liability if you lose the case where court proceedings are involved. While fees may be waived by your lawyer, you may be required to pay legal fees to the winning party.
These are expenses that third parties charge the law firm to access information or to progress your claim. Examples of disbursements include the cost of medical reports, court fees, barrister fees, freedom of information fees, private investigator fees etc.
‘No win, no fee’ usually means that you do not pay professional fees unless your case is successful. You will find that most ‘no win no fee’ agreements do not extend to disbursements. Therefore, if the law firm incurs any disbursements on your behalf and your claim for compensation is deemed unsuccessful, you may still be required to pay these expenses.
In most circumstances, payment of the disbursements can be recovered from the insurers. To avoid any surprises at the end of your case, it is very important that you are aware of your responsibilities in relation to the payment of disbursements.
‘No win, no fee’ Agreement Inclusions
The Estimate of Total Cost
Your lawyer should give you an estimate of your likely legal costs, details of how they are calculated and payment requirements once the case is settled.
A Defined Meaning of “Win”
It is important that your lawyer clearly outlines what is considered a successful case for your situation. A ‘win’ can vary depending on the certain factors of the case. It’s imperative to have an open line of communication, to avoid any misinterpretations and/or misunderstandings.
Cases That Qualify for a No Win No Fee Arrangement
A no win, no fee agreement is limited to certain situations, as not every case qualifies.
Below is a list of cases that qualify to be considered for a no win, no fee agreement with CLP Legal Pty Ltd:
- Almost all personal injury and compensation claims
- Professional and medical negligence claims
- Claims against large companies that have the potential and financial capabilities to meet specific settlements
- Claims against the government or Public Liability claims where the client has suffered significant damages with excellent capacity to recover
CLP Legal Pty Ltd are experienced no win, no fee lawyers based in Perth and Fremantle. Our legal team works in complete transparency to establish a trusted relationship with every client.
For more information on how we can help with your claim, please contact 08 9339 9600 today.